23-year-old man held without bail in horrific stabbing attack in Haverhill

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A District Court judge ordered 23-year-old Jake Kavanaugh of Haverhill held without bail after a horrific stabbing attack in a quiet Haverhill neighborhood late Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors allege Jake Kavanaugh twice struck 54-year-old Janet Blanchard and her 26-year-old daughter, Geena Sindoni, with his father’s car while they were walking their dogs.

Then authorities allege, Kavanaugh attacked Blanchard with a box cutter.

“He hit the mother with his vehicle. (He) actually turned the vehicle around, hit the mother a second time,” Prosecutor John DePaulo said at arraignment. “(He) attacked with a box cutter, cut her, both of the eyes. Cut her neck, severe cuts to her neck. These are life-threatening injuries.”

Kavanaugh is charged with armed assault to murder, among several other charges, in the brutal attack.

According to police reports, daughter Geena Sindoni is five months pregnant.

She ran for help when she and her mother were struck by the car.

Police, who were first on scene, described a horrific sight.

One witness told police it appeared Kavanaugh was trying to cut off victim Blanchard’s head.

Prosecutors say the attack was unprovoked and they have no motive.

However, Geena Sindoni told investigators that last February, Kavanaugh struck a car parked in Blanchard’s driveway.

Kavanaugh was charged with impaired driving.

But Sindoni told police she did not think that incident caused Wednesday’s violent attack.

Police say Kavanaugh was unresponsive to investigators after his arrest.

His only words when questioned by police, “It’s not going to matter.”

Kavanaugh and Blachard are neighbors on Fairview Farm Road where the attack took place.

Kavanaugh lived at home with his parents, while Blanchard lived a few houses away.

After court, Kavanaugh’s parents said their son suffers from mental illness.

His mother told me, she is praying for the victims.

Back on Fairview Farm Road, neighbors are wrestling with the sudden burst of violence on their doorstep.

“It’s just so scary. You think you are going for a walk, you never know,” said Jeannie Peace of Haverhill.

This is not Jake Kavanaugh’s first brush with the law.

In 2018, he was arrested in a drug bust in Methuen.

At the time of Wednesday’s stabbing, that case was no longer open.

Jake Kavanaugh is being held at Bridgewater State Hospital. He is due back in court on April 9.

Victim Janet Blanchard is in critical but stable condition at a Boston Hospital.

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