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Toddler recovering after random attack at Manchester supermarket

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 21. 2014 4:00PM

MANCHESTER - A toddler is nursing a bruised head and a cut gum after a woman randomly attacked her outside a grocery store Wednesday afternoon, according to city police.

Police said Lorraine Augustine, 47, who is homeless, assaulted the child about 2 p.m. as she and her mother Krystan Lambert, 26, of Manchester were leaving the 460 Elm St. Market Basket.

Lambert said she noticed the woman hanging around the Red Box when she entered the store with her daughter Sonya and a year-old boy she was babysitting.

She held her daughter's hand as they came out of the store, the cart full of groceries and the little boy in the seat section, happily eating a cookie. Lambert said all of a sudden she felt her daughter tugged away from her.

A woman, whom police identified as Augustine, had grabbed Sonya, pushed her onto the ground and was hitting her, according to authorities. As her daughter lay on the ground crying, police said Augustine continued to strike her and then took off the child's boot and hit her with that as well.

"What is wrong with you?" Lambert screamed as she tried to get her daughter away from the woman, while at the same time keeping an eye on the one-year-old in the shopping cart. "Why would you hit a child?"

Lambert said she screamed at the woman and got in front of Sonya to shield and protect her. At the same time, she was trying to get the woman to go away.

A Good Samaritan, whom police identified as Elizabeth Andrews, 36, of Manchester, stepped in between the two women and shoved Augustine away. Augustine then punched Andrews in the face, police said.

Lambert said Andrews' mother called police who arrived and arrested Augustine.

Lambert told officers she was definitely pressing charges.

"They (police) told me she had mental health issues," Lambert said. "Something needs to be done. She needs care and shouldn't be free to roam the streets. They said she was homeless. She needs someone to look after her."

Lambert said her daughter is very shy to begin with and, after the attack, wouldn't look up when an officer tried to show her a picture of his daughter, who is about the same age, so a photo could be taken of Sonya's injuries.

Lambert said police only arrested Augustine because Sonya was bleeding. The toddler tore the connective tissue between her lip and gum and has a bruise on her head from where she hit the ground, Lambert said. Fortunately, she said, her daughter did not need any stitches and didn't have a concussion.

Augustine was arraigned Thursday in 9th Circuit Court, Manchester on second-degree assault and simple assault charges.

She is being held on $10,000 bail with a probable cause hearing set for March 6.

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