Family Thanks Hero Who Helped Victim Of Joliet Hammer Attack, Arson

(CBS) – For the first time, a woman meets the Good Samaritan who saved her daughter’s life.

Amanda Zelko was beaten with a hammer, and the Joliet home she was in was set on fire. On Tuesday, her mother got to thank the man she calls a hero.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.

A long embrace is shared between two strangers, now united forever by tragedy.

“You did such a wonderful thing,” Linda Zelko tells Ryan Flannery.

Amanda Zelko endured a violent attack over the weekend.

Prosecutors say Timothy Gregory beat the 32-year-old-woman in the head with a hammer, punched and kicked her and then pushed her into the bathroom of her Joliet home before setting the house on fire.

Gregory is the brother of Amanda Zelko’s fiancé.

“Something made him snap,” the victim’s mother says. “A monster did this, and that’s not Timmy.”

She adds: “He loved her, so that’s what’s so hard, because he was family.”

Amanda was able to make her way to the porch. Flannery was driving by, and he stopped to help her.

“We all have a purpose. Your purpose that day was to be there,” she tells Flannery.

“God put me on that street, at that moment, for a reason,” he says.

Flannery also left flowers and a card at the hospital.

Linda Zelko says Flannery’s actions show her “humanity is not lost” and that there are good people out there.

She says her daughter is expected to recover. She’s been in a medically induced coma and is undergoing an MRI to determine if any trauma was done to her brain.

Gregory was charged with arson, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property. He is being held on $2 million bond.

A GoFundMe page was launched on Monday with a $10,000 fundraising goal for Zelko and her fiancé, Scott. As of Thursday afternoon, $4,240 had been donated to the cause.

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