Wounded mother recounts repeated blows to her head in Saturday morning attack

by: JAIME VALDEZ - April Hinderer reveals wounds from a home invasion and assault in her Main Street home early Saturday morning.April Hinderer hadn’t been asleep long on Friday night when a sound she first thought was an explosion, or at least falling furniture, woke her with a start.

The next thing the Southwest Main Street resident knew, she was fighting off repeated blows from a male assailant with a blunt object and trying to get herself and her three children to a safe place. Her assailant, she told police, was Phillip Howells, 30, her estranged husband and the children’s father.

“I tried to get my phone, but the touch screen had so much blood on it, it wouldn’t work,” she said Monday afternoon. “I was trying to get it to unlock while he was hitting me on the head. I was trying to get to the bedroom ... and he burst in behind me. There was blood flying out of my head after dozens of hits.”HOWELL

Police are seeking the public’s assistance in finding Howell after he fled the scene of the home invasion and brutal assault that took place around 1 a.m. Saturday, said Detective Sgt. Jim Shumway of the Beaverton Police Department. Described as a black male adult, 6 feet tall and 165 pounds with short black hair, Howell drives a 2001 Dodge Caravan with Washington license plate number ACF1073. The suspect has ties to Woodburn and Salem and may be in those areas.

With an intricately patterned gash on her forehead and bandaged wounds around her shoulders and chest, Hinderer recounted her harrowing ordeal during a Monday afternoon news conference at the Beaverton Police Department. The relentless assault on her and her live-in boyfriend ended only, she said, when the children — ages 4, 5 and 7 — refused to leave the house with their father, Phillip Howell.

“(Phillip) said, ‘I’m going to save you from April,’” recalled Hinderer, 28. “My daughter said, ‘No, we’re not going.’ I’m so proud of my kids. They didn’t freak out. They knew what to do.”

Hinderer was released from Oregon Health and Science University Hospital Monday afternoon after being treated for numerous abrasions and puncture wounds.

After six and a half years of marriage to Howells, much of which the couple spent as residents of southwestern Washington, Hinderer said the couple’s divorce was to be finalized later this month. She was given “emergency custody” of the children after an April assault in Washington that led to her obtaining a restraining order against Howells.

“People hide that this still happens,” she said on Monday. “If we can talk about it, we can change it ... I want the public’s help. I want him punished.”

More than that, she’d like her life back.

“I want to be a regular person, be a mom worried about what to have for dinner,” she said. “I don’t want to worry about who’s following us. I don’t want to move again. I don’t want to run.”

Anybody with information regarding the location of Howells and/or the vehicle is asked to call the Beaverton Police Department at 503-629-0111.

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