Strangers Save Woman from Husband’s Brutal Attack

A woman in Tennessee, who was brutally attacked and left to die in a fire by her husband, owes her life to the quick thinking and bravery of two out-of-town visitors. Tess Mowel, formerly Trotter, was saved from a burning house by the couple who were in the area to check out an item listed on Facebook Marketplace. The woman’s mother, Tina Trotter, is now seeking to express her gratitude to the couple whose intervention saved her daughter’s life.

The incident took place on a Monday evening in a small house on North Charlotte Street in Dickson, a town on the western outskirts of the Nashville metropolitan area. The couple, visiting from Alabama, noticed smoke billowing from the house and rushed in to extinguish the fire that was threatening to consume Mowel.

Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a horrifying scene. A subsequent investigation by local and state police revealed that Zachary Mowel, 28, had assaulted and stabbed his wife, doused her with gasoline, and set their home ablaze. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has since charged him with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated arson, aggravated domestic-related assault, and domestic assault.

According to law enforcement, Mowel confessed to the crime as soon as police arrived at the burning house. Family members have revealed that the couple’s two young children, aged five and eight, witnessed the horrific violence. The children pleaded with their father to stop the attack, according to a GoFundMe page set up by the victim’s twin sister, Tori Ila Elizabeth Trotter, to cover medical expenses and lost income.

Mowel is currently in stable condition at the trauma unit of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. She has been left paralyzed from the waist down, with third-degree burns on her right leg, a collapsed lung, broken ribs, and nine stab wounds. Investigators found a knife still lodged in her body when they discovered her amid the smoke near the back door of the residence.

Tina Trotter shared with a local TV station the chilling account her daughter gave of the attack. She said her daughter had asked her eldest child to call 911, but her husband prevented him from doing so. The motive behind the attack remains unclear, but the victim’s sister suggested to a local ABC affiliate that Mowel’s request for a divorce in May could have triggered her husband’s violent reaction.

The victim’s sister, Tori Trotter, has used the incident to highlight the dangers of emotional abuse. She said her sister’s husband had never been physically violent before, but had been emotionally abusive. She urged people to understand that emotional abuse can be just as damaging, if not more so, than physical abuse.