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A New Jersey mom stabbed in her own home by a stranger who was allegedly high on mushrooms recounted her frantic attempts to evade the crazed attacker and his haunting words before plunging a knife into her chest in July 2013. 

Donna Ongsiako came face to face with then-16-year-old Brennan Doyle, who was trying to cut her screen door in Colts Neck, New Jersey with a knife, when she opened it to let her cat inside in July 2013. In a new interview with CBS’ “48 Hours” last weekend, Ongsiako recalled the attack. 

“I tried to slam and shut the door,” the mother said. “He stuck the knife through the opening, and I cut my finger so that I immediately let go of the door. And then he pushed his way in.” 

He lunged toward her, slashing her cheek and her neck, she said. Ongsiako said she grabbed for the weapon, cutting her own hand in the process. She said her legs began to give out, and she slumped to the floor, where her attacker continued to stab her. 


Doyle then demanded that she turn over her purse, her car keys and a lighter, rummaging through her purse before returning to her bleeding body. 

“He said, ‘You dead b—-‘ and plunged the knife into my chest,” she told interviewers. 

The attacker fled, and Ongsiako managed to drag herself upstairs, get her charging cellphone and call 911. Before losing consciousness, she was able to give dispatchers a description of the man. 

“[My daughter] Kiersten could come home and find me,” Ongsiako told interviewers. “I just didn’t want her to have to experience … any level of the horror that I had just gone through or any other levels in finding me there dead.”


Donna Ongsiako

She was whisked to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where she underwent surgery for seven hours. Ongsiako lost three quarters of the blood in her body, according to CBS, and doctors later told her that the large knife had missed her heart by a dime-sized margin.

Not long after Ongsiako was stabbed, police got a call from a Taco Bell about five miles away, reporting that a young, blonde man with a backpack was walking through their drive-thru, knocking on windows and carrying a knife. The description matched the one Ongsiako gave to dispatchers – and police found her abandoned car nearby, behind a movie theater.


Donna and Kiersten Ongsiako

However, Doyle was not arrested until several months later, after police linked him to the attack using DNA left inside the stolen vehicle. 

After putting together a sketch of the attacker based on a Taco Bell employee’s description, which Ongsiako said looked like the suspect, police released it to the public. Within days, Doyle’s cousin called them to say that her relative resembled the sketch and provided them with a recent photo. 

Doyle had never been arrested, came from an affluent home and was a student athlete on wrestling and hockey teams. However, police had been called to the Colts Neck home that he shared with his parents for domestic disputes in the past. Just a few weeks before Ongsiako was attacked, police had confiscated a knife after Doyle got into an altercation with his brother. 

After Ongsiako was attacked, a large knife was found on a bowling alley roof in the same shopping center where Ongsiako’s car was found. Police determined that it belonged to the same set as the knife taken from the Doyle home. 

When Doyle was arrested, he told police that he had taken hallucinogenic “magic” mushrooms before the attack and had lost touch with reality. 

“The drugs turned me into a monster that night,” Doyle said later, during his 2015 trial. “I am truly sorry.” 

Initially, Doyle was charged with six counts, including attempted murder and carjacking. He initially pleaded not guilty. A judge decided to try him as an adult, and his family posted his $760,000 bail, CBS reported. 


He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and is required to serve 85 percent of that sentence before he is eligible for parole. 

In a statement to “48 Hours” from prison, Doyle apologized to his victim. 

“My actions have altered her life cruelly. She should never have had to take on the pain and suffering I inflicted,” he said. “She did not deserve what happened to her, and it was entirely my fault. All I can do is wake up each day guided by my unforgivable actions, and act with the dignity my 16-year-old self did not possess. I am sorry for everything.”

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