Cops: Homeowner, burglar stab each other

Woman confronts burglar she finds inside her Bradford County home


STARKE, Fla. – Authorities are searching for a man accused of stabbing a woman homeowner in Starke after she stabbed him first.

It happened about 7:20 p.m. Wednesday at a home on State Road 16 at the Bradford and Clay County line.  According to the Bradford County Sheriff's Office, 19-year-old Ashley Elam came come home and found the burglar in her house.

Elam confronted the man and they had a physical confrontation, deputies said.  According to investigators, Elam grabbed a knife and stabbed the intruder in the chest. The intruder pulled the knife out of her hands and stabbed her on his way out, deputies said.

Elam was treated and released from the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  Channel 4 learned she is a Florida Army National Guard employee at Camp Blanding, and she went to work on Thursday morning.

Sheriff's Office said it is working with the Clay County Sheriff's Office, bloodhounds from the prison in Starke, and a St. Johns County Sheriff's Office helicopter to find the man.

The suspect was last seen wearing a black ski mask, long-sleeved dark shirt and dark pants.

Anyone with information on the suspect's whereabouts is urged to call the Bradford County Sheriff's Office at 904-966-6161.