On February 18, Denver serial rapist Brent J. Brents nearly beat 33-year-old Tiffany Engle to death. She was his last victim—and she is also my friend.

October 2005

Doctors had to remove a 2-centimeter-by-4-centimeter-by-2-centimeter section of brain tissue that had already died due to the pressure. No one knew what information that ice-cube-size section once held. Tiffany's right temporal lobe, which can affect memory, hearing, some visual perception, and speech, was injured, as was her right occipital lobe, which primarily affects vision. Also damaged was her frontal lobe, an area that many doctors refer to as the personality center. It was possible that Tiffany could wake up with a host of physical problems, not the least of which was that her bubbly, lovable personality might simply vanish.

Before her family had even arrived at the hospital on Tuesday morning, doctors took Tiffany off the respirator. She was breathing on her own, and for someone with an injury so severe, Tiffany was awake earlier than expected. She was agitated and scared, but as soon as she could talk she asked for her family.

As Paul, Cheryl, Cari, and Paul Matthew entered the room, Tiffany looked up through her barely open left eye and said, "Hi Dad." Looking around at her family, Tiffany asked where Andrew was and they told her he was parking the car-to which Tiffany responded, "Good, at least Mom's not parking it." To an outsider, that line meant nothing, but to the Engles it meant everything. Just a few months earlier, Cheryl had accidentally backed out of the driveway right into Paul's Blazer. Tiffany had made a joke-a joke that used her long-term memory.

Thursday, Feb. 24
Glenwood police knew Brents was in the area only hours after the attack on Tiffany-they had used her cell phone, which was in her car, to trace the stolen Mazda. Once they saw the car, they knew they had him. Arrested after a short car chase, Brents stayed in Glenwood until the next day, when police brought him back to Denver. Police rescued his hostage and brought her back to Denver as well. In the Denver County jail since Saturday, Feb. 19, Brents' bail rang in at $25 million. On Feb. 24, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey charged the 36-year-old ex-con with 80 felony counts, including 24 counts of sexual assault, seven counts of second-degree kidnapping, three counts of sex assault on a child, and, for his attack on Tiffany, one count of criminal intent to commit first-degree murder.