Eight months ago, Christine DeVaux was studying medicine in Auckland, living out West with her partner.

Now the 38-year-old American is in custody charged with attempted first-degree murder after an alleged jealousy-fuelled Taser attack on a woman nine months pregnant.

According to United States court documents obtained by the Herald, DeVaux was wearing a surgical cap and cloth gloves as she lay in wait for Lynae Mattson, daughter-in-law of her partner Bruce Mattson, at the victim's home in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

It has emerged that DeVaux enrolled as a mature medical student at the University of Auckland in 2006, but dropped out in November after a biking accident in Canada.

"As a consequence, Christine chose to defer her medical studies for 2010 and remained in America," said spokesman Tim Greene. He did not know the extent of her injuries.

DeVaux came to New Zealand in January 2004 and worked as a general manager at Standards New Zealand in Wellington until the end of that year.

"This was a business development role, focusing on securing contracts for developing standards across a range of sectors and organisations," said spokeswoman Barbara Crocker.

This followed a seven-year stint as a standards specialist at a US federal agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in Gaithersburg.

A spokesman for the agency told the Baltimore Sun that her job involved developing and advancing product and technology standards in the United States and around the world.

This week, DeVaux appeared in the Montgomery County Court charged with attempted first-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, first-degree burglary, false imprisonment and intent to injure with a dangerous weapon.

She was refused bail and remanded in custody until next month.

The Taser attack allegedly lasted 30 minutes before DeVaux fled 40km to the Comfort Inn in the town of Frederick, where she was arrested.

It is understood police officers were surprised by her lucid state.

United States newspapers reported that DeVaux was driven by jealousy and rage, believing Mrs Mattson's pregnancy to her partner's son was the source of her own relationship problems.

Prosecutor John Maloney said Mrs Mattson "believed that Christine DeVaux was there to kill her and her unborn child".

A hotel staff member refused to comment and hung up on the Herald.

Paul Starks, of the Montgomery County Police media service, would not say if DeVaux was known to police.

But a check of the Montgomery Court website revealed no other charges.

Mr Starks said "both mother and baby are okay. They have been closely monitored over the weekend." It is believed the baby is yet to be born.