Hyde Park stabbing arrest shines light on mental healthcare access

In November of last year, a 24-year-old Austin nurse who doesn't want to be named was sitting on a curb on Speedway in Hyde Park.
She says a woman wearing dark clothing stabbed her 21 times -- in the legs, arms, back of the head...and then ran away.

"I put my hands up.  Hence the reason why I've lost use of my dominant hand.  I had to have 5-hour surgery to repair the tendons in my hand," she told us during an interview in December.

According to Austin Police paperwork, in March of last year, Pearl Moen's mother reported to police her daughter had kicked her in the head.

In February of this year while living on Avenue C in Hyde Park, police documents detail another attack.  Apparently Pearl, now 18 years old, was upset after dropping out of drug rehab.
Pearl's mother told police her daughter fit the description of the Hyde Park stabber.
After getting a search warrant, detectives found clothing with dried blood, hand drawn illustrations of the November crime scene and journal entries describing the murder she thought she'd committed.

Police say Moen wrote: "So, okay I'll start with the exciting bit.  I stabbed an innocent woman to death earlier today.  (technically yesterday since it's 1am)  It was absolutely fantastic.  Murder gives me a high unlike any other, it feels like this crisp unreality, flashing & sparkling, adrenaline & shock, fight or flight mode.  How do I even go about describing it, the whole thing was unreal.  I'm so proud of myself.  I stabbed her like 20 times, maybe more, I wasn't counting.  She screamed & grabbed at me."

On Tuesday we spoke with Moen's victim by phone.  It gives her comfort knowing her attacker is behind bars.

"Just so much relief knowing that I can now go out in Hyde Park and not feel like this woman is watching me or that she's around me or that she's going to come back to hurt me or she's going to hurt someone else," the victim said.

We tried to contact Moen's family but didn't have any luck.
Police documents say during last year's attack, Moen's parents wanted a mental health officer to come take her on a protective order -- saying their insurance wouldn't cover Moen's treatment because she didn't meet certain criteria.
Karen Ranus with the National Alliance on Mental Illness says this is a common problem.

"There would be people protesting and rallying if for instance if you had Diabetes and showed up at the emergency room and had a 600 blood sugar and they said 'But do you feel like you're dying?'  And you'd say 'nope, don't feel like I'm dying.'  'Ok well come back when you feel like you're dying,'" Ranus said.

It's a problem is in need of solutions.

"One is we need more resources.  Clearly one of the things that we know in Texas is the expansion of Medicaid would be huge in terms of addressing this issue as well because we have lots of folks that are falling into that gap," Ranus said.

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