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Marine still in “critical” condition

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While California police say they have no leads on the two men who stabbed a Marine from Waddington last week, the young man’s father described him as “a fighter” who was smiling Monday in his hospital bed where he lay in critical condition.

Cpl. Jonathan C. Woodard, 23, was stabbed multiple times, including in the neck, at 3:20 a.m. March 10 in El Centro, Calif., after attending a local fair. The attack occurred days before he was scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty.

Cpl. Woodard, who graduated from Madrid-Waddington Central School in 2008, is stationed at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.

El Centro Police Commander Jeff A. Mason said Monday that a friend who was with Mr. Woodard when he was attacked was able to provide police with a description of two assailants.

“Since that time, we’ve searched the area where the stabbing occurred, and police have been canvassing and talking to people living in the area,” Mr. Mason said. “They have also searched video surveillance from nearby businesses.”

So far, the search of the neighborhood and surveillance video has not been productive, Mr. Mason said, and the investigation is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, his family says Cpl. Woodard remains in “critical but stable condition.” He was airlifted to University of California at San Diego Trauma Center, where he is being treated for a severed carotid artery and neck wounds.

“We’re waiting for the swelling in his brain to go down before we can find out anything else,” his father, Charles C. Woodard, said Monday. “He has another surgery today to prevent clots in his leg.”

His father said Cpl. Woodard’s spirit is strong.

“He is a fighter. He was smiling this morning,” he said. “He is starting to remember more. He is able to mouth words to me. He told me he remembered feeling like he was drowning in his own blood.”

Cpl. Woodard and a friend were walking to their hotel in El Centro from a fair after giving up on a taxi cab that did not show up. That is when a group of men came out from behind an alley and attacked Cpl. Woodard, who was walking ahead of his friend, a fellow Marine who broke up the fight and called for help.

Friends have set up Team Jonny Fund online at www.go fundme.com. While medical expenses will be paid for by the Marine Corps, the group hopes to raise $5,000 for the family’s traveling expenses. They had raised $2,700 as of Monday afternoon.

To donate to the fund, go online to www.gofundme.com/2au79c.

“We’ve been having a lot of ups and downs, but it’s been a good morning,” his father said Monday.

“We’re so grateful for the support. It has been super. All we can do now is take it one day at a time.”

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