APEX, North Carolina (WTVD) --A Wake County high school senior was viciously attacked with a machete in an Apex neighborhood Thursday afternoon.
Apex police say it happened around 3 p.m. in the 1800 block of Venezia Way, near Abruzzo Drive.
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Police Chief John Letteney said when police arrived they found the 18-year-old high school senior lying on the ground suffering from serious injuries. They said it appeared the girl had just got off the school bus and was walking down a sidewalk when 20-year-old Neel Salil Mehta came up and attacked her.
Police said they were told the two had previously dated. (Editor's note: Since this story was originally published, the girl's family has said they had not dated. CLICK HERE for more.)
An eyewitness, who lives on Venezia Way and does not want to be identified, said he was in his home when he noticed a man he didn't recognize with a tan coat walking around the neighborhood. He said he didn't think anything of it until he heard what sounded like a fight.
He assumed the fight was between two high school students since school buses are usually dropping students off at that time.
He grabbed a two-by-four, ran outside and found a man beating a young woman. He said he yelled out and backed off when he saw the man had a machete. He said the suspect was not deterred by his presence and kept attacking the girl. The man described the attacker as "relentless."
He said another neighbor called 911.
A neighborhood kid also described seeing a man in a tan coat walking around. When he got off his school bus he said the man asked him if he was coming from Holly Springs High School. The boy told him no and kept walking, saying he had a bad feeling. This conversation, he said, happened about 20 minutes before the attack.
Chief Letteney said when officers arrived on scene, the girl was on the ground and Mehta dropped the machete when officers confronted him. He was immediately taken into custody. He was also treated for minor, self-inflicted injures sustained prior to police arrival.
Mehta, of the 600 block of Halcyon Meadow Drive in Cary, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious bodily damage, but police said the charge will be upgraded on Friday to attempted first-degree murder. Mehta is slated to make his first court appearance Friday.
A family friend who lives on Venezia Way and who also wished not to share her identity said she knows the family well.
She said the girl used to go to Green Hope High School in Cary when she was a sophomore and that's when she met Mehta. The family friend said the girl is currently a senior at Holly Springs High School.
The victim is being treated at Duke University Hospital. The family friend said the girl was conscious and able to talk to family.
Police said they've obtained cell phone video of the incident and are reviewing that as part of their investigation.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Brown at (919) 362-8661.
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