Woman stable after stabbing

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By MIKE MORRIS

A Douglas Flat woman is in stable condition at a Modesto hospital after being stabbed early yesterday morning in her bedroom.

Maria Estella Costa, a 50-year-old home health aide, was taken by air ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto after being stabbed several times in the back.

Steve Neth, a 54-year-old a truck driver, was also stabbed, suffering at least four slash wounds on his face. He refused medical treatment.

The pair lived together on the 1800 block of Ironwood Court in Douglas Flat.

After being stabbed, Costa and Neth fled to a nearby home to call for help.

When Calaveras County Sheriff's Department deputies arrived about 6 a.m. yesterday at Neth and Costa's house, they found Rebecca Sue Steele holding a lock-blade knife "in a threatening manner."

Deputies subdued Steele with an electric Taser after she armed herself with a broken table leg, according to a sheriff's press release. No deputies were injured.

Costa and Neth told deputies that Steele stabbed their pet cat, but they couldn't find the wounded animal.

Sheriff's Capt. Mike Walker said that, judging by Steele's behavior, it is a "likely possibility" that she was under the influence of drugs.

Steele, a 41-year-old Vallecito resident, was booked on suspicion of attempting to murder two people, cruelty to an animal and showing a deadly weapon while resisting arrest. She is to be arraigned tomorrow afternoon, jail officials said.

As of this morning, Steele remained in custody at Calaveras County Jail in lieu of $1,040,000 bail.

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