A large picture frame takes up most of the passenger’s seat of a white Buick in Thommy Whidden’s East Naples front yard.
It’s a collage of images from nearly two decades spent with his former girlfriend Angela Rhodes, her two children and her grandson.
On Monday night, Collier County sheriff’s deputies also found a bloody sledgehammer in the car and arrested Rhodes, 52, accusing her of critically injuring Whidden, 48, after a recent breakup.
She faces a domestic violence charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Whidden remained in a medically-induced coma Tuesday.
Whidden was lying in road not breathing when deputies arrived at the 2900 block of Karen Drive around 9:40 p.m. Monday, according to an arrest report. He had injuries to the left side of his head and blood coming from his nose, eyes and mouth,
Rhodes was screaming at the scene and had to be restrained, reports said.
She initially said her adult son, Michael Thompson, injured Whidden and escaped in a pickup. She later told deputies there was a fight between Thompson, Whidden and a third man after her son stole her purse, filled with cash and prescription medication. Several neighbors observed three or four men at the scene, though her arrest report makes no mention of another person involved in injuring Whidden.
When a deputy asked Whidden who hit him, he replied “Angie,” and said the attack happened in the Buick, reports said.
The couple lived together for 18 years, but recently broke up, according to the arrest report and Thompson, who is Rhodes’ son.
“She couldn’t handle the fact he didn’t want to be with her anymore,” Thompson said. “She just snapped.”
Rhodes moved out, he said. But Thompson stayed, sharing the home with Whidden, whom he considers his stepfather.
When Rhodes arrived Monday night, Whidden talked with her while Thompson went inside, Thompson said. He said he returned 10 minutes later to find Whidden bloodied in the street and his mother screaming.
Whidden was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital, where he remained in critical condition Tuesday. Thompson said he was in a medically-induced coma.
Monday night was the fourth visit by deputies since April to the Karen Drive home.
Deputies were called for a possible disturbance and a welfare check on Saturday, and again on Monday afternoon.
An April 17 fight, however, lead to Rhodes’ arrest on a criminal mischief charge. Angry that Whidden’s friend had come to the house to take her boyfriend out, Rhodes pummeled the hood of the friend’s car, causing $200 in damage, according to the arrest report.
She admitted to investigators at the time that she “lost her cool.” She was due in court today to face that misdemeanor charge.
Thompson said he hasn’t been to visit his mother in jail, and doesn’t plan on it. He supports Whidden, a man he described as a native Neapolitan, fisherman, “redneck,” and his best friend.
“I had to sit there and look at his lifeless body,” Thompson said. “This should have never happened,”