MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) – Kel Papaleo was just starting to get her life back together.
She had been ravaged by fungal meningitis, a victim of the massive outbreak caused by tainted drugs from New England Compounding Center.
But now, Papaleo is once again both a victim and a survivor after being attacked in a brutal home invasion. The assailants may have been looking for her settlement money.
“I woke up to a punch in the face,” she told WBZ-TV.
That’s how her nightmare began. It was in late April, Papaleo was asleep when four people, three men and a woman, broke into her home and began to punch and kick her.
“They beat me until they couldn’t beat me anymore,” she said. “They kicked my face so hard that my teeth fell out.”
Papaleo was tied to a chair and assaulted over and over. Her wrist separated from her arm. Bones were broken. She had such severe head trauma, she required brain surgery. Papaleo believed she would die on her kitchen floor.
“What did they want?,” WBZ asked. “Money. They wanted money,” she replied. Papaleo says they asked her for her bank pin number over and over.
As one of the victims of the NECC outbreak, Papaleo is in line for a piece of a $200 million settlement. She says her attackers knew that she was part of the settlement.
What they didn’t know is that neither Papaleo nor any of the victims have seen a dime of that money yet.
In fact, Papaleo was broke. She had lost her job and been unable to work while dealing with the meningitis that nearly killed her.
The medicine was finally starting to work though and she was getting back on her feet. She moved into a new apartment in Manchester and was living on her own for the first time since her injections in 2012.
Papaleo says what the attackers did was nothing shy of torture. They kept her in her home, tied her up and beat her over and over for what felt like days.
She fought back and finally escaped. A neighbor found her unconscious.
She says two of the four assailants have been caught but the others are still at large. Manchester Police will only confirm that it is an ongoing investigation.
Papaleo wants the public to help bring the criminals to justice.
“What they did was horrible and vicious,” she says. “I need some help. I want these people in jail. I want them in jail and I want someone to come forward. These people don’t deserve to be free.”