NEW ORLEANS - A bomb in a crawl space sent the owners of a northwestern Louisiana horse farm flying from their bed to the floor, but they walked away uninjured by the bomb, which sent shrapnel and daggerlike splinters from their hardwood floor into the ceiling, one owner said Monday.
"We think it was our Christmas miracle," Tracy Hewlett said in a phone interview from their 280-acre Holly Hill Farm Equestrian Center, which includes three houses and a couple of bunkhouses.
Their three small dogs and a cat all had been on the bed and also were unscratched, she said.
Authorities said maintenance worker Douglas Holley, 54, placed the explosive below their bed and faces charges of attempted capital murder and making a bomb.
Hewlett said she and her husband, Bobby Hewlett, think he must be mentally ill and, while horrified by the bombing, feel sorry for him.
"He's just ruined his life," she said.
Hewlett said she and her husband had returned Friday from a weeklong visit with their son in Australia and awoke about 3:30 a.m., "still on Australian time." They were trying to go back to sleep when they heard a boom.
"There was a big flash of light, and both of us went flying," she said. "My husband flew over the top of me onto the floor by my side."
Thinking it was a gas leak, they called 911 from the office in their horse barn. Emergency crews quickly ruled out a gas leak, and police began asking about disgruntled employees, upset clients, or enemies, Hewlett said.
They couldn't think of anyone, she said, but when asked if they knew anyone who might be able to get explosives into the house, they named Holley.
He came to the center on a friend's recommendation and had lived there for about three years, Hewlett said.
A search of Holley's home, a few hundred feet from the Hewletts' house, turned up bomb-making materials and indications that Holley had researched how to make explosives.