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Airline employee assaulted

By Ed Brock

An Atlantic Southeast Airlines employee who was assaulted in an employee parking lot received four threatening letters in the month before the attack.

Peyton Elizabeth Spence, 33, of Griffin, said she reported the letters to a supervisor but police were never notified.

"The letters started with just kind of harassment. I'm watching you, that kind of thing," Spence said, recovering at home Friday just hours after the attack.

Around 6:12 a.m. Friday Clayton County police responded to Spence's call for help in the parking lot on New Trade Center Drive near College Park. They found her sitting on the pavement, leaning against the inside of the driver's side door of her car, bloody and dazed with a half-inch deep cut across her lower neck and chest.

Spence said she had been getting some things out of her car in preparation for boarding a shuttle bus to work when somebody hit her on the back of her head with a heavy object. She thought at first that she had just hit her head against the car door, and she doesn't remember getting cut.

"When I woke up I felt something cold on my chest," Spence said. "It was blood."

Spence then called 911. She was taken to Southern Regional Medical Center for treatment. Nothing was taken from her car or person.

At the beginning of March Spence, who is married, found a note in her training notebook while she was still in training for her job as a gate agent. It was signed "Your admirer."

Spence found a second note in her duffel bag, then a third in a cubbyhole at work. A co-worker found the fourth note on a stairwell.

By that time the messages in the notes had become more aggressive and she had reported the notes to ASA Director of Customer Service Brett Mannion.

According to a police report, one line from the fourth note was "Brett can't get to you before I can. They will never catch me."

Mannion told Spence not to tell anybody else about the notes, according to the police report. Spence was also supposed to meet again with Mannion and other ASA directors on Friday to discuss the notes. That meeting was arranged before the attack.

Spence did not report the notes to police.

"I guess I was going on (her supervisors') impulse," Spence said. "I hadn't been in a situation like this before. I was trusting their instincts."

ASA is a Delta Connection airline. Delta spokesman John Kennedy said ASA is aware of the situation and is conducting a full investigation in cooperation with the police.

Spence said the blow to her head fractured her skull and she must go back for a follow up exam with a neurosurgeon next week. As for how she feels about returning to work, Spence said she is nervous and would like to see what preventative measures the company will take before she will feel comfortable going back there.

The parking lot where the attack occurred is fenced with a guarded gate.

This is the second attack of an airport worker in less than a month.

On March 15, Najied Arif, 25, of Union City, a courier for Parking Company of America was ambushed, robbed and shot in the leg while he was carrying the day's proceeds from the parking lot. The ambush occurred on a road near the airport.

While the investigation continues, no arrest has been made in that attack.

They are not believed to be related.