On February 16, 2009, Charla went over to the Stamford, Connecticut, home of her friend and employer, Sandra Herold. According to news reports, Sandra called Charla because Sandra's 14-year-old pet chimpanzee, Travis, escaped and she needed help getting him back inside.
When Charla arrived, Travis savagely attacked her. Sandra called 911, and when police arrived, they found Charla in a devastating state. "I would never have imagined that an animal could have done that," emergency worker Andrea Repko says. "[Her hands] honestly looked like they went through a meat grinder."