Mom attack suspect’s brother shocked by allegations

Man and girlfriend accused of beating, tying up his mother on July 4

Cory Wagner, Tiffany Chanthavong
Left: Cory Wagner. Right: Tiffany Chanthavong. (Winnebago County (Ill.) Sheriff's Office - July 5, 2016)

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The brother of a woman accused of assaulting her boyfriend’s mother says he’s surprised at the charges now levied against his sister.

Cory Wagner, 27, and Tiffany Chanthavong, 21, are both expected to face charges of assault with intent to murder following the July 4 attack in southeastern Barry County. Barry County sheriff’s officials say Wagner and Chanthavong attacked Wagner’s 66-year-old mother after she refused to give them money. Police say they beat her, bound her, locked her in a bathroom and left her for dead.

Chanthavong’s brother, who asked not to be identified by name, called her the “black sheep” among the three siblings.

“What in the heck were you thinking?” the brother said he would ask of his sister. “We try to guide her in the right path and (she) doesn’t choose to stick with it.”

He said police came to his home on July 4 looking for his sister and Wagner. The pair was arrested the next morning at a hotel in Rockford, Illinois.

Police say the motive in the assault was money. The pair wanted money from the victim to help them flee the state and Wagner’s legal woes, Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.

Wagner’s legal troubles are rooted in charges in which Chanthavong was the victim. Ottawa County sheriff’s officials say Wagner held her against her will while armed with a knife inside their apartment home in April. Neighbors heard Chanthavong screaming, police said, and called 911. But when officers arrived, Wagner would not allow Chanthavong to come to the door, according to investigators.

After he was charged in that incident, he was ordered not to have contact with Chanthavong. He was due in court Wednesday because of an alleged bond condition violation discovered when his mother called police in June and reported the two were together.

Chanthavong has been in trouble with the law in the past on theft-related charges and for allegedly driving on a suspended license. Wagner has also faced previous charges for domestic violence and driving while impaired.

Both appeared in an Illinois courtroom Wednesday, both waiving their right to fight extradition to Michigan. They should be lodged in the Barry County Jail soon once transport arrangements are finalized.

If convicted of assault with intent to murder, both suspects face the possibility of life in prison.

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