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Lakewood Woman Describes Knife Attack That Killed Sister

Times Staff Writer

Moments after collapsing on her neighbors’ frontyard with multiple stab wounds to her back, arms and neck, Samantha Meraz managed to stand up and wrestle her assailant’s knife away.

“I knew she was going to kill my mother,” Meraz, 30, said as she recounted for the first time the June 16 attack at her family’s Lakewood home.

At about 3 a.m., Virginia Krall, 22, carrying a 12-inch knife, allegedly climbed through a side window and stabbed and slashed Meraz; her mother, Jeannie Meraz, 57; sister Yolanda Meraz, 37; and niece Megan, 18, according to police.

Yolanda died of her wounds, while Meraz and her other family members are recuperating. All have been released from the hospital.

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Krall remains in custody in lieu of $2.7-million bail, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Lloyd. She is scheduled to be arraigned July 5 on one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder. The motive is still unclear.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday outside their Quigley Avenue home, Meraz said her family had never seen Krall before and did not know why they were attacked. Krall had only recently moved into the neighborhood.

Meraz, who has visible wounds on her arms and neck, said the alleged assailant did not speak and “seemed calm” during the assault.

Yolanda Meraz, who was in her bedroom, was the first to be attacked, said Colin Lyon, another relative and family spokesman. When her daughter, Megan, started screaming, she was stabbed twice in the chest, Lyon said. The wounded teenager ran outside.

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Meanwhile in the kitchen, the attacker stabbed Jeannie Meraz sixteen times, including on her tongue, a piece of which had to be sewn back on, Lyon said.

Samantha Meraz, who was outside and did not know what was happening, heard her mother’s screams and rushed inside, where she saw her being stabbed, Meraz said. The attacker then turned on Samantha, who bolted out the front door.

“As I was running, I felt her stabbing me,” recalled Samantha, who collapsed on her neighbor’s frontyard. As her assailant walked away, Meraz stood up and grabbed the knife before collapsing again.

At that point, Krall’s roommate appeared and led her back to their home three doors down, Lyon said.

She was subdued with little resistance until deputies arrived, neighbors said.

Funeral services have not yet been scheduled for Yolanda Meraz, a dispatcher for a trucking company who was the family’s main provider.

Her loss “left a void emotionally and financially” for the other women, Lyon said. Two of the survivors were previously disabled, and the youngest is a full-time college student.

The family asked the public for donations to help pay for Meraz’s funeral. Donations to the Meraz Family’s Surviving Victims Fund can be made by calling any Bank of America, or the family’s local branch at (562) 868-1448.

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