By Kelli Stacy The Hartford Courant
HARTFORD, Conn. — Tyler Charette rushed into Hartford Hospital on May 17 in search of his wife, Jill Kidik, just in time to see the back of her head as she was wheeled into an elevator. Her hair was stained crimson with her own blood, which she was losing at an alarming rate.
Charette’s supervisor had run down the stairs at the Connecticut State Police Shooting Range minutes before, telling him they needed to leave immediately.
“The first thing I said was ‘What happened to Jill?’” Charette said.
Jill Kidik, an officer for the Hartford Police Department, had been stabbed in the neck while responding to a tenant-landlord dispute at the Spectra Boutique apartments in Hartford earlier that morning. After attempting to convince the tenant, Chevoughn Augustin, to exit the apartment, a struggle ensued and Kidik took Augustin to the ground. Augustin admitted to Hartford detectives that in the midst of the struggle she had stabbed Kidik twice with a purple Cuisinart chopping knife while trying to escape. Maintenance workers were able to pull Augustin off Kidik, who was then rushed to the hospital and immediately taken into surgery.
Two months after the stabbing, Kidik stood in the middle of Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night and was honored to the applause of thousands of fans. Her tracheotomy was recently removed, leaving a scar at the base of her neck a few inches below a longer scar that she received from surgery. Her attacker appeared before a judge on Thursday and her case will be continued in September.
When Kidik opened her eyes for the first time in the hospital a day after the attack, she caught a glimpse of her mom’s hair and glasses, which immediately made her feel safe. It would take a few days and multiple explanations before Kidik was lucid enough to remember the events that landed her there. But once the pain medication began to wane she was determined to get out of the hospital.
“I knew [what had happened], but it didn’t matter,” Kidik, a 12-year veteran of the department, said. “It was ‘How can I get out of the hospital?’”
When the moment finally came for Kidik’s release, she was suddenly seized with terror. Her mother, a nurse practitioner, was directed to stay at Kidik’s side when she returned home to help Kidik avoid being put in a rehabilitation center. Once home, Kidik’s fear subsided and she was able to take care of herself.
Kidik isn’t easily shaken. When she speaks about her time in the hospital and the near-death experience that led to it, her voice doesn’t waver. She doesn’t avoid eye contact or fidget. She stands tall and speaks with confidence.
“Jill is a very unique person,” Charette said. “What’s unique about her is her ability to deal with the most negative of things and turn them into a situation where she can be positive about everything. Her will is super strong. With this case, with other cases, she’s not really affected by a lot. She knows who she is; she’s a strong person.”
Kidik has been seeing a psychologist since the stabbing, saying it’s helped her keep her mind on the future rather than relive the past; she is already plotting her return to work. Her goal was to be back at work last week. Her doctors tell her that late fall is a much more reasonable timetable, she said. But the look in her eyes says she’s bent on achieving a much quicker recovery.
“If I could go back tomorrow, I would,” Kidik said.
Until then, Kidik is trying to stay busy. She’s had a new bulletproof vest fitted, bought new work boots and visited her colleagues. She’s enjoying the time she has with her family, but she’s eager to get back to work.
“It’s ‘How do I get back to my plan in life?’” Kidik said.
“…It wasn’t my plan for my story to end that day,” Kidik said. “I have a lot more to do. I’m a very vibrant person, and no one’s going to stop me until I’m ready.”
©2018 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)