Mystery of top marine biologist’s wife found beaten in her home… but doesn’t remember attack or ‘telling police her HUSBAND did it’
Svetlana Guggenheim ‘told nurses that ocean expert husband David left her with fractured skull and other injuries’
Now Mrs Guggenheim claims she has no memory of the attack – during which nothing was stolen from her apartment – or days before
Mr Guggenheim returned from Philadelphia to Washington DC home a day after her daughter alerted him that no one was answering their phone
He found wife twitching and bloodied while lying on the floor in only a blouse
Later Mr Guggenheim posted YouTube video filmed by wife’s daughter in which his spouse indicated she did want to see him
By Meghan Keneally and Julian Gavaghan
PUBLISHED: 06:57, 22 May 2012 | UPDATED: 13:25, 22 May 2012
Mystery surrounds a savage attack on the wife of a top marine biologist after she apparently blamed her husband for the beating and then told police she had no memory of the assault.
Svetlana Guggenheim, who is married to David Guggenheim, was left with a a fractured skull and still cannot open her left eye six weeks after the attack in their Washington apartment.
During early stages of her recovery, nurses’ notes allegedly show how the 46-year-old Russian translator implicating her husband and asking for protection from him.
The apparent claim led police to consider Mr Guggenheim, who claims he returned home from Philadelphia to find her bloodied and twitching hurt but nothing stolen, as the only suspect.
But now Mrs Guggenheim says that she has no memory of making such a request, the Washington Post reports.
She has also asked to see her ocean expert spouse, who has appeared on the 60 Minutes TV show with Anderson Cooper.
She is said to have smiled and reached for his hand when he was finally allowed to visit last Friday, while accompanied by Washington Post reporter Paul Duggan.
She also says she doesn’t remember the days leading up to the assault, when she returned to the apartment while her husband was out of town, nor the attacker’s identity or how attack took place.
What police do know is that on the afternoon of Thursday April 5, Mrs Guggenheim had been texting Anna Pavlichenko, 25, her daughter from a previous relationship, who now lives in Florida.
While messaging back and forth, they decided to speak later that night. But Miss Pavlichenko’s calls went unanswered.
Miss Pavlichenko then alerted her mother’s husband of 18 years the following day while he was in Philadelphia, and he became concerned as well.
The 53-year-old says he arrived to their second-floor apartment Kalorama neighbourhood – and found the door dead-bolted – on the morning of Saturday April 7.
One of the few certain facts is that Mr Guggenheim called police after the discovery of his wife lying on the floor beside their bed, wearing only a blouse and surrounded by blood and with a black eye.
Mrs Guggenheim, who met her husband in her home country of the Soviet Union in 1991, was treated for a subdural hemotoma from the attack and is recovering from brain surgery.
Though her husband was initially allowed to sit at her bedside at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, police later barred him after seeing a note that a nurse wrote saying that she had requested protection.
The only other family she has is Miss Pavlichenko, who has visited twice from Florida over the past six weeks that her mother has been in the hospital.
Miss Pavlichenko made a video – posted on YouTube by Mr Guggenheim – where she asks her bed-ridden mother if she wants her husband to be able to visit.
Mrs Guggenheim, who can barely speak and has breathing and feeding tubes connected, nods and mouths ‘yes’.
Only her right eye is open as her left eye is still so swollen from a fracture that it remains shut.
She is also recovering from a skull fracture and severe bruises on her upper arms, which doctors took as an implication that she was grabbed at some point during the attack.
When she feels able, Mrs Guggenheim communicates by notes, or, as was the case when she was formally questioned by police and an assistant U.S. attorney, a laptop.
So far, those notes mostly make mentions of her feelings about the attack (‘Sheer horror! Sheer horror!’ read one) and messages to her husband (‘They are supposedly keeping me safe from you’ she wrote in another after the ban was lifted).
The only other clue that remains is a cryptic message that Svetlana wrote to her daughter during one visit, where she implied that her attacker was an acquaintance.
The exact wording of the message is unknown, and she did not identify the individual, but Miss Pavlichenko is said to have brought it to the attention of the U.S. attorney’s office.
While investigators would like to think that note is the smoking gun of the case, their hopes have been thwarted as she now does not remember the person she mentioned.
The case continues, and since the ban has been lifted by the police, her husband is at her side.