A Massachusetts college faculty member said a colleague who is now facing an attempted murder charge told her while beating her with a fire poker and other objects last month that she was doing it because the victim didn't know she'd loved her, according to a police report.
The injured Mount Holyoke College faculty member, who authorities have only identified as a woman over 60, was left with severe injuries including broken facial bones after the attack in her home in Leverett between Dec. 23 and 24, according to the Northwestern District Attorney's Office.
The injured woman told police from her hospital bed that Rei Hachiyanagi, an art professor at Mount Holyoke, showed up at her home uninvited and said she wanted to talk about her feelings, then attacked her, according to a Massachusetts State Police report obtained by NBC affiliate WWLP.
She said Hachiyanagi told her "she loved her for many years and she should have known," the police report said.
Hachiyanagi beat her colleague with a fire poker, a rock and garden shears, authorities allege. While the victim was left with severe injuries, she is expected to survive.
Hachiyanagi was arraigned Friday at Orange District Court and ordered held without bail until a Feb. 4 court hearing.
An attorney confirmed Monday to NBC10 Boston and necn that he represents Hachiyanagi but didn't immediately have a statement on the incident. Criminal defendants in Massachusetts are given not guilty pleas if they do not initially enter a plea of their own.
The statements that Hachiyanagi and the beaten woman gave to police soon after the incident, described in the police report, present two very different pictures of what happened.
Officers found the two women "lying together on the floor" and searched the house for an attacker but found none, according to the police report. The injured woman told officers at the time that she didn't have any information about who attacked her, but later, when she was alone with them in the hospital, identified Hachiyanagi as her attacker, saying she'd feared reprisal from the art professor.
She recalled to police that, in the middle of the attack, she temporarily mollified Hachiyanagi by saying "that she really did love her," but that her attacker soon hit her with the fire poker, making her fear she would soon die.
According to the report, Hachiyanagi told police she didn't remember anything after 6 p.m. that day and she has a medical condition that includes multiple concussions that affect her memory.
She said she'd held her friend after discovering her on the floor in a pool of blood, which explained the blood on her clothing, according to the report.
Police ultimately arrested Hachiyanagi just after 7 a.m. that morning at her colleague's home, the site of the incident, according to the report.
Mount Holyoke College have officials acknowledged that "a serious incident" between two faculty members took place over the winter break and that the one was in custody. That faculty member has been placed on administrative leave and is barred from campus pending a review.
"We take very seriously the safety and well-being of every member of our community, and the College is providing support to impacted parties as appropriate," the college's statement said.
Hachiyanagi is an installation and performance artist who works with handmade paper and chairs the art studio at the Mount Holyoke Department of Art, according to biographies on the college's website. Born in Japan, her work focuses on how visual and textual languages interact.