Police: Van Buren Man Slams Former Wife Onto Floor, Cracks Her Skull

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A Van Buren man is behind bars after picking up his former wife by the throat and slamming her onto a hard floor, cracking her skull, according to a police report.

The suspect is Michael Didion, 37, the report states.

Police responded to a call from Didion on Thursday (June 20) regarding a possible domestic battery case at Sparks Regional Medical Center. When they arrived, he was outside the hospital on a bench, and he told police that he pushed his former wife down really hard inside the hospital, according to the report.

The officer went inside and found the victim Erin Didion, 29, on the floor, being attended to by medical personnel. When asked what happened, she told police that she was walking down the hallway, and when she turned a corner, her ex-husband appeared, grabbed her around the throat and slammed her to the floor where she hit the back of her skull, the report states.

"She's got a skull fracture," said Erin Didion's mother Shell Phomsopha. "She has head trauma, she has an ear fracture, she has staples in her head, she's got a lot of drainage from the ear."

As a result, she now had pain in her head and couldn't recall her address, phone number or any other events at the time, according to the report.

She was taken away by medical personnel, and officers noted a small bit of blood coming from her left ear.  Officers later learned that she required emergency care due to a cracked skull, and she was transported to Saint Edward Mercy Hospital for neurosurgery, the report states.

Didion was booked into the Sebastian County Detention Center and faces a charge of domestic battery - 2nd degree.

Didion is the owner of Didion Athletics in Van Buren, a fitness center that regularly caters to children.


  • Trish B.

    You freaking bully. This has to stop. Long and hard time. No one should allow you to have responsibility of their children.

    • Johnny

      Before you go calling people a “bully” know the whole story and get your facts straight. Everyone makes mistakes some worse than others. Mike is one of the best guys you will ever meet!

      • Billy

        Well Johnny, what’s the whole story then? Sounds like he showed up at her work, grabbed her by the neck and slammed her to the floor . Seems like a bully to me. Your kids must go to his gym so you don’t want to believe what happened

      • HL

        johnny, The best guys I meet don’t intentionally slam their wives heads into a hard floor. That may be what a nice guy does in your world, but not mine. Your buddy is a creep, and I hope he goes to prison.

      • Denise

        I have worked with Mike as a Media Rep. He was a very sweet d professional. I was truly shocked by this story.

      • RUTHIE

        He is one of the best guys you could meet i don’t no if he would do this some thing really had to be wrong.

  • Alan

    Best guy you will ever meet? I wouldn’t consider a guy who beats up on women a good guy and especially not “the best” guy ill ever meet.

    • Johnny

      It’s funny how quickly people like to point fingers before they know the whole situation. He is the best guy I’ll ever meet! What he did was wrong NO DOUBT! His wife is a deadbeat and pushed enough buttons to cause these problems! You’d be amazed what you would do when your children are involved !

      • concerned citizen

        Sounds like he was the manipulating one, Johnny. There is no telling what he told you people who are defending him about her. I’ve seen it before. Deadbeat, either way. Johnny, are you saying “she had it coming?”

      • HL

        If he’s the best guy you’ll ever meet, that doesn’t say much for your character. Why don’t you quit making excuses for your violent friends?

      • Kim

        Johnny…yes, I know Mike too and he is nice, and he has the most patience I have ever seen in a coach and a business owner….but I do know his first wife has been nothing but problems for him for many years and she does know just what buttons to push…unfortunately. She won’t stop and she just keeps pushing with no respect to him at all. He loves he daughter ..she is the apple of his eye and the ex wife has been using that to torment Mike. I am praying for him and all this to move on…yes, he shouldn’t have acted out on his anger, but there is a side she isn’t telling either….and nobody else has spoken up about how she treats him either. It will all come out in court.

  • Dawne

    The incident has nothing to do with his business…. Nor has he or ever will be a harm to children…. There are two sides to every story! Absolutely this should not have ever happened …. The news only tells the parts that will get the publics attention….. Not always truths! I’ve known this young man since he was 6 years old and never ever have I observed any type of behavior like this….. My prayers for his ex wife…..Michael and his family

    • Jo

      Doesn’t matter what the other possible side of the story is, NOTHING justifies assaulting another, NOTHING!

      This guy deserves to be boycotted!

    • HL

      “….never ever have I observed any type of behavior like this.” Don’t someone always say that when some whacko goes off his nut and starts attacking people?

  • Gage

    He’s still a good guy from the social perspective. But still, good people have bad stuff happening to them. Like the guy that shot up the court house a couple years ago, he was a good guy. It’s still good to have the entire senerio, not just what the news says happened.

  • mark

    i hope he receives the absolute full extent of justice. and better not be let go because of “mental” problems. let justice prevail against this brutal act. let our deeds be the judge of who we are

  • Billy

    So because you think someone is a deadbeat means you can cause them bodily harm? A man should never touch, much less grab a woman by the neck and slam her to the ground

  • Chris

    Women push men to the brink all the time. Then when men can’t take it and “snap” all the sudden he’s the bad guy. No, he definetly shouldn’t have done this. No way. But I can only imagine what bilge came out of her mouth and hell she has put him through to push him to this point.

    • HL

      Yes. He’s the bad guy. Good men don’t “snap” and start fracturing their wives skulls, just because they’re p!$$ed off. They deal with the situation like a sane adult.

  • mark

    chris: no matter what came out of her mouth, this barbaric & violent act must be swiftly dealt with justice. the moment you justify actions like this as “provocation”, then we are brought down to the lowest of the low. put him away, he is a danger to society at large if he explodes like this and so easily drawn to violence.

  • ugotthatrite

    kind of convenient she had no memory of the events leading up to her attack, yet knew her attacker as her ex husband and was very descriptive of every detail of the attack. sounded to me exactly like the signature move of wwe wrestler, the undertaker.
    he says, he pushed her down hard and as a result? she banged her head, real hard.
    i know she got hurt pretty bad, but falling backwards on a hard floor can do that….
    i believe his side of the story

  • Dawne

    Believe the one’s responding very negative to this situation must go to Flame Gymnastics….. They’d do anything and say anything to get those gymnasts back at their gym…. What a sick way to prosper

    • HL

      I don’t go to any gymnastics. I just don’t condone men being violent towards their wives. Do you?

  • ???

    All of you people trying to justify this are sick! I have known her since I was 12! She’s a wonderful mother and a good Christian woman! How dare you people call her a deadbeat! I bet if that were your daughters being abused this way suddenly you wouldn’t think it was ok! And yes I say boycott the gym who wants some violent crazy woman beater around their children! She didn’t push him, he had it in him all along! Everyone just needs to shut their freaking mouth because you don’t know what your talking about! Bottom line she didn’t deserve it! Just because he screwed up and it all over the news doesn’t give you people the right to make up lies about her, shame on all of you!

      • ugottabekiddingme

        Doesn’t matter “what a great guy” this woman beater MIGHT have been, he is now one of the lowest forms of life that there is.
        Notice that it doesn’t say alleged anywhere in this report? Well that’s because it was caught on surveillance cameras within the hospital. They know exactly what happened without question. We can only hope that the charges are properly adjusted to 1st Degree Assault and that the future sentencing will reflect just exactly how heinous and unacceptable this form of behavior is.
        It doesn’t matter what he WAS. He now IS a woman beater.
        You can preach your overly obvious condoning of his actions until you are blue in the face. All you are proving is that you are a rotten judge of character and most likely just as probable of committing the same acts if pushed.
        As for her “pushing his buttons”, it doesn’t matter. I have had my buttons jumped on like a trampoline by the worst of them but, unlike your friend and yourself, I have the capability of judging right from wrong……
        Let’s put it this way- if this were to have happened to your daughter my some man, would you be so quick to try and justify HIS actions and blame your daughter?
        Your friend is a pathetic excuse for a man and you are obviously no better.

        Remember this. Everyone is a good person until they do that one thing that shows and proves otherwise. Now your choice is to set and deny the facts or realize that your character assessment of your friend was entirely wrong.
        This woman may very well be a horrible person, but that is not what the issue is here. The issue is that he is worse…. and has fully proven this fact.
        Any attempt to justify his actions, by anyone, only brings about the concern of their high probability of committing the same act.

      • Bill

        Sounds like the dead beat is in jail. Very good father figure, doing this to his ex wife in front of their child. Yeah he’s a real winner

  • pam

    For all you people who read the news story which was obviously one sided, makes you sound very ignorant. Two brothers and sisters horsing around could fall and injure their head. I’m sure he didn’t mean for her to get injured. This one incident shouldn’t sum someone up because of one mistake. It’s funny how she couldn’t remember anything except the “event”. I’ve known Michael for many years and he’s an amazing guy, mistakes happen. Everyone has their breaking point especially when it involves a manipulating women. It doesn’t matter what you guys say or think because you don’t know Michael or the situation.

    • mark

      well you admitted he had his breaking point. he committed an act of violence and harm. therefore the law (& justice) should respond accordingly. simple. get over it let him deal with his own conscience as a result. no matter how “nice a guy” you consider him to be

    • Bill

      The situation had to be a pretty bad one for 2nd and 3rd degree battering charges to be pressed. Innocent until proven guilty, I’m sure we’ll find out soon

    • HL

      Well, I guess there’s no doubt that he resorts to violence, when he reaches his “breaking point”. Most violent people do.

    • Kim

      I remember seeing my own father hurt my mother as a child of four and I remember it to this day. No man accidentally puts his hands on a woman’s throat and accidentally pushes her to the ground in front of a young child. My father was the “nicest” man in his community and everyone would have taken up for him as well. Injustice will be debated and judged in court and God knows all. Those who hate and harm will answer to their maker one day. So sad for their child. Hope she doesn’t read these words later in life and witness how others “adults” throw words of uninformed accusation out as if they can debate issues as casually as if they were the weather.

  • Trish B.

    Well Pam you can visit your amazing man in jail and take him cookies. No man hits a woman. Walk away.

    • mark

      tom: unless she attacked him with a weapon or with intent to do bodily harm, your question about what provoked his violence is meaningless. a real man would have walked away or not have even been there, to justify violence & harm to another because of supposed verbal provocation is simply barbaric, you might as well go back to the middle ages.

  • concerned parent

    How dare any of you judge her without even knowing all of the circumstances. Per witnesses at the hospital, he repeatedly slammed her head on the ground in front of their small child that he was attempting to take from day care without permission. I do not care what someone has supposed to have done, there is no excuse for this behavior. For the people that have said someone could “push” you to this point, you are unstable yourself. Any man that would go to their ex-wife’s place of employement and physically abuse her in front of their child, is a sick individual and has no business working with children period.
    How convenient it is for abusers to say it is the victims fault. That is what every abuser, murder, etc. says when they are trying to cover their actions.

    • Chris

      I don’t think that’s what’s been said here at all. everyone is more trying to understand what led to the events. And obviously she played a part.

      • Concerned parent

        The circumstances leading up to this do not matter. The point is he came to her place of employment and physically assaulted her in front of their child. If there were things going on that he didn’t like, go through the legal system. Do not take matters into your own hands. No one deserves what happened to this lady. How would you feel if this was your wife or daughter that was assaulted.

  • C didion

    As his one of his family members. All I have to say it all on camera. And the thought of emma seeing her moms head being smash on the floor makes me sick.

  • ugotthatrite

    well, he’s being charged with a class c felony(domestic battery, 2nd degree) that’s 10 to15k in fines and looking at 3to10years if convicted. problem is? we just witnessed the 20year ani of the oj simpson murder trial and most here thought that was a slam dunk case. based on the comments, yea and nay? looks like they’ll have to plea it down to get a conviction. 3yr probation? anger management, supervised visitations at a court approved location because it’s a given there’s going to be a restraining order for a very long time…as well they’re should be….but as the ole saying goes, it takes two to tango.

  • Mel

    Good people can do bad things. History has taught us that. Let the courts decide – unless all of you have been selected as jurist. Maybe I missed that part.

    • Justanotherconcerenedcitizen

      That is so true! We all have our faults, weaknesses and breaking points. right or wrong. It is the “human” us. The Bible is full of tragedy and good people that did bad things. I pray they all recover from this.

  • JoAnna Summers

    I’ve known Mike and his ex wife for many years. First of all, there is ALWAYS 2 sides to the story! She has been known to be psycho crazy and put her hands on him! Mike has always been one of the sweetest and nicest people I’ve met. He would go to great lengths to help anyone and give the shirt off his back! I would trust him with mine and my kids life! Please don’t go bashing him if you don’t know him, her, or the ENTIRE story! He may have pushed her off him, but only after she put HER hands on him FIRST! Most of Van Buren and Fort Smith that have encountered Mike know what kind of person he is and wouldn’t let this One sided, media hyped up story sway their opinion of him!

    • Bill

      Pushed her off?? Did you not ready the news article? He grabbed her by the throat and slammed her to the ground. Rumor is cameras caught it all on video. So I’m sure we’ll know soon enough

      • JS

        Yes I read the news story and they blew it up with drama for plubicity. She wasn’t transfer for “neurosurgery”. And since when has any news story always been 100% accurate? Has anyone got a commit from Mike or seen the surveillance footage? We shall wait and see.

  • DaveG

    Pretty bad when we start justifying violent acts. Good guy or not, it’s an example of WHAT NOT TO DO if you want people to be sympathetic to your plight.

  • Sarah 1

    If this guy had been violent with a stranger, his charges would be much harsher. What does it say when family members do not constitute the same level of penalties as a stranger assault would? Why is this?

  • Amanda Burkholder

    I went to school with Erin. She was a very sweet girl with a heart of gold. I have not seen her since we graduated school. I do not care what buttons she may or may not have pushed of his regarding their daughter, he still did not have any right to do this to her. I never met him but I will make sure that I never solicit his business as I do not want to support him!

    • ConcernedCitizen

      Amanda I have known Erin for about 5 years give or take a few and she is not the woman she was when she first graduated from high school! Something inside of her has snapped! And a lady does NOT act how she does!

      • Dave

        If you’ve know Erin for only 5 years you have no idea how she was when she graduated. I’m around her everyday, so think before you post things on the internet

      • ConcernedCitizen

        Dave thats very good point but if you knew her during her marriage with Mike and have seen her dark side like I have there would be a lot less stuff to debate. But we do need to stop pointing fingers cause we don’t know the whole story yet…

      • Dave

        I knew her through the marriage also, which only last about a year. There’s 2 sides to that story also. Ask him to tell you how he treated her while she was pregnant with their child . Just like everyone on here has said, know both sides of the story before you judge

      • ConcernedCitizen

        Well Dave here’s the thing everybody has a dark side some people use it to their own advantages, others may use it to others advantage, and then theres people that hold it in. I know this man personally and I would trust him with MY life and anybody else’s life, but people make mistakes. Erin has been pushing him to his limits since they first got married till now. Grant it the man was wrong to put hands on a woman, but for all we know Erin “could” be lying (about him grabbing her by the throat and slamming her head down)! It’s very common for all people to lie, but I know for a fact that Mike is not a liar or a violent person. You can go ask anybody that truly knows him!

  • David

    I counsel young couples all the time, and in no way should a man ever put his hands on a women in this way or a women hit a man. I do know Erin and have known her for years. Even if she was being verbally abusive to him, he still should have just walked away and cooled down, period, no excuse for this. Domestic violence is one of the #1 crimes in america and it needs to stop. There are many children today without their moms because a man “snapped”, or kids without dads because she “snapped”. All of their lives are being effected by this, but the children are the most innocent in this situation and to see your mom get hurt this way is horrible. i would think he would have come to his senses when his child that he loves was standing there watching this happen. I pray for Erin to heal quickly, and for this guy to take responsibility for his actions and get help so he doesnt ‘snap” in the future, Yes there are 2 sides to every story, but in this case He is the one who acted out and caused harm to her, bottom line

  • bobreal

    Good thing Erin wasn’t one of my relatives because I would of hunted You down and You could talk to Glock.

    • ConcernedCitizen

      Bob that would just be murder no matter what! So I Erin was a relative and you killed the man you’d be in a bad spot!

      • bobreal

        I’m OLD SCHOOL.. The Only WAY to make sure He doesn’t do it again is Shoot Him like a MAD DOG.

  • Sydney

    As one of Mike’s former students from Didion Athletics, I know that he is a very kind and patient guy. He was one of the best gymnastics coaches I ever had, and I had been to a lot of different gyms before his. Now unlike a lot of people on here, I’m not going to choose a side and defend anyone until the ENTIRE story comes out. The reports that the news put out are always one sided and they always leaves out details. So before you go judging Mike or his ex-wife, just make sure you know the whole story first.

  • Justanotherconcerenedcitizen

    I do not in any way agree with the action taken and harm caused to this young woman. I do know that really good people can be pushed over the edge. Perhaps, they push each other over the edge. I’m sure both of these folks are great people with family and friends that love them both. Arguing and trying to place blame is very unproductive. This is very unfortunate and I am not sticking u for the wrong done . I am only saying that people can and do let emotions get the best of them and it can end in disaster. I am sorry for all involved . I really sincerely offer them my prayers for healing in every way. People stop judging! Shame on all of that.
    And as for CH 5 , I’m sure the employees trying to go to work at the gym do not have authorization to make a statement no rent to get involved. Cheer and gymnastic gyms almost always have the phone on an answering machine and sometimes it’s hours or next day or 2 before they return calls. That is typical. So is just ignoring the press in these situations. I hope there are more prayers being said than drama comments. Sad , yes but they need help not more stone throwing.

  • HL

    Lots of folks seem to think just because some guy is a real nice guy to the general public, or to paying customers, that, somehow, justifies him putting his wife in the hospital with a fractured skull.

  • JS

    Funny how she couldn’t remember her number, address or any other events, but she could perfectly recall mike “slamming her down” as she walked around the corner… Hmmmm…

  • Chokeslam Charlie

    I want to urge everyone who reads this to please call Didion (Chokeslam) Athletics 479-262-6650 and let them know how you feel about a roid rager who cracks a woman’s skull and nearly kills her. If you have kids enrolled at Didion pull them out now. Do not let this maniac be around your children and do not let him make another dime off of you. There’s no excuse for picking on a woman like this. Total coward and bully!!!

  • PamelaG

    Perhaps those of you who are saying she has her dark side or she pushed his buttons…has me thinking…as I don’t know either of them. But, lets just take into consideration what he did to her, in a public place…in front of their child. How did he treat her behind closed doors where no one could see??? Im sure she was sick of the way he treated her…and even if that is not the case, lets just suppose he “was” a saint…NEVER NEVER NEVER is violence the answer!! I think after an incident like this, in front of their own child…along with his punishment…he should not be allowed to work around children for many many years…I would not step foot into this mans business..as a survivor of domestic violence, this makes me sick…and no matter how much someone “pushes” someone’s buttons do they EVER deserve this kind of treatment.

    • HL

      Well, sinless, I’m certainly not without sin. But, I have NEVER even considered harming my wife. And would never consider it. So, in this case, I’ll cast as many stones as I want.

  • Toangry2text

    This is for all you idiots that think his actions are justified in anyway shape or form. His behavior is sick and totally unacceptable, he is clearly an abusive man. No matter what she said theres absolutely NO EXCUSE for his(“mistake”) actions. Sadly to say, the ignorance of some of you is pathetic. Really? its a mistake this sorry excuse for a man probably was physically abusive the entire relationship, i would bet money on that. Also, for you low lifes that are defending him “you obviously don’t have a clue” what happens behind close doors. end of story! Erin you get yourself a plan and stay away from him and go somewhere and start over. And, GOOD man or “the best man youll ever meet will not be a physically abusive.

    • Really?!

      I find it funny that in a day of autocorrect, you still can’t spell or have correct grammar and here you are calling everyone who supports Mike an idiot. Take a look in the mirror before you go casting stones. Were you there behind closed doors? I don’t think so, so how would you know what went on or didn’t? That chick was/is crazy “end of story”! You are probably one of those bible thumping people she had wrapped around her finger and convinced she was all innocent. There’s a reason she didn’t have custody of her son before she married Mike… Crazy!

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