86-year-old veteran recovering after knife attack in Jacksonville

An 86-year-old veteran is recovering after a knife attack on Jacksonville's Westside.

Investigators are still searching for the suspect they say the victim managed to fight off.

According to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report, Melvin Clark's throat was slashed and his right wrist and finger were also cut.

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Investigators said they were able to briefly communicate with him before he was taken to the hospital.

A report says a man was going to check on his hunting stand when he found Clark lying on the ground along a rural stretch of highway.

“He’s not out of the woods yet. He’s still in ICU," Clark's wife Gayle told Action News Jax.

He was airlifted to a trauma hospital and underwent surgery for his injuries.

Police said Clark's wife last heard from him around noon Saturday.

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She reported him missing after he never returned home from a trip to Academy Sports on Atlantic Boulevard.

Clark’s SUV was recovered Sunday in the Miami area.

“My heart goes out to the family and I pray for him and I hope he makes it,” Ben Mills said.

Mills has lived in the area for 40 years and was there Saturday after Clark was found.

He said it’s a safe area but he’s not surprised Clark’s attacker left him there.

"There have been people who have committed these crimes in town and brought bodies out here a couple different times," he said.

Mills he hopes police catch whoever attacked Clark.

"I hope the judicial system does what they need to do when they do find them,” Mills said.

The family says JSO investigators are heading to Miami to collect evidence from Clark’s SUV as they continue the investigation.