MADISON, AL (WAFF) - A woman is recovering after being brutally beaten at the Madison bar where she works.
It happened at a popular neighborhood hangout and the violent robbery suspects have not yet been caught.
Tanglia Lanford's wounds are healing from the night she was rushed to the hospital, covered in blood..
"I thought I was dying, I really did," she said.
Lanford is a manager and bartender at Wild Bill's Sports Bar and Grill on Madison Boulevard in the Madison Village Shopping Center. She was closing up around 2 a.m. on July 15 and there were three people left in the bar - two regulars she knew and another woman she had only seen there one other time.
When Lanford went to the back to find the woman to let her know that she was getting ready to lock up for the night, she was attacked. The back doors had been locked so Lanford feels that it was setup and that the woman opened the doors for two men who came at her.
"They pepper sprayed me, started beating me, tried to get zip ties on my feet and my arms. I thought they were going to kill me. They nearly choked me unconscious," she revealed in her first interview since the horrific assault. "When they started beating on me, I told them I would give them whatever they wanted but they weren't satisfied with that."
At one point, she tried to get away but the suspects were still there.
"One of them came back after me and pepper sprayed me again, zip tied my arms. The only thing I could think of to save me was to scream that the Madison Police Department would be coming through at any time and they'd better run and they listened," Lanford stated.
As the suspects got away, Lanford ran to a nearby hotel for help.
"I couldn't see because I had blood from head to toe but it finally went silent so I got up and ran out the door," she said.
She was treated for a number of injuries, including multiple lacerations to her face.
"I had to have facial surgery, they broke my nose and crushed one of my sinuses," Lanford added. "They punched me so much, there's something going on in my side. We're still trying to figure it out. I'm having severe muscles spasms from being kicked so much."
With pepper spray and blood in her eyes, Lanford couldn't tell if the suspects were armed.
"The hospital says two of my cuts are knife wounds, that they were way too clean to just be fist punches," she said.
Madison police are looking for anyone have may have seen suspicious vehicles or people hanging out at the shopping center around the time of the incident, or behind the building, or in the parking lot.
"We know for sure that two people, at least two people, entered the business, a robbery occurred and there was also an assault. Investigators are working the case. We do have some leads but at this point, it would hinder the investigation if we released them right now," said Capt. John Stringer, spokesman for the Madison Police Department.
Anyone with information is asked to call Madison police at 256-772-5689 during normal business hours to speak to an investigator. After hours, call 256-722-7190 and dispatch will help take the tip and get the caller in touch with the right person.
"We want to hear from anybody who may have seen anything or if you've heard somebody talking. If these folks are local, there's a good possibility they're talking about what they've done or talking about what they took so please pick up the phone and give us a call," Stringer stated.
Lanford says there was surveillance video from that night, but her attackers took it with them.
"They knew exactly where everything was at," she stated. "They took the money from the register. It couldn't have been a lot of money because I worked all night and there were a lot of credit cards but they took it. But there was no reason to nearly kill me to get the money. I couldn't identify them."
The suspects were wearing hoods that covered their faces, with holes cut out for their eyes. She hopes there's a break in the case very soon.
"I'll do whatever it takes to catch them," she added.
Lanford would like to meet the paramedic who provided her with comforting words in the ambulance.
"She made me feel so secure because I thought I was dying. I really did. And she was amazing," Lanford said of the compassionate first responder.
She has not yet cleared by her doctor to go back to work.
"I don't know if it's going to be a few days or a few weeks," Lanford added. "It totally wiped out my income and I don't know how long I will be without work. Everyone needs to know the truth about what happened and how horrible this crime was."
She's worked at the bar for seven years and says there's been a few fights outside in the parking lot, but never inside the business. She started feeling unsafe about a year ago when different people started coming into the business.
Customers have been asking for her and sending well wishes. Lanford's daughter set up a GoFundMe account to help her with expenses as she recovers. If you would like to donate, click here.
She's grateful for the outpouring of support.
"It makes me feel great. I have a lot of regulars there and that's the reason I've stayed on all these years. It has definitely been a nightmare but I'm thankful, so thankful that I survived," Lanford said of her ordeal.
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