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Woman, 86, Fights For Life After Brutal Home Invasion Robbery, Beating

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RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A suspect or suspects who assaulted an 86-year-old Riverside woman, knocking her unconscious and then ransacking her house, remained at large Thursday.

The attack happened around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 4200 block of Eileen Street, according to the Riverside Police Department.

The victim was alone in her home when a suspect — who may have had an accomplice — broke in and struck her, causing her to black out, said Sgt. David Amador.

He said the seriously injured woman remained unconscious as the suspect burglarized the house. The victim’s son-in-law interrupted the crime and the suspects fled.

The victim, identified as a woman named Verna, remains hospitalized. CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Greg Mills spoke to Verna’s son-in-law, Rich Hengstebeck.

Verna shares the home with her daughter and Hengstebeck. When he discovered his mother-in-law, he says, “She was on the floor and her face was all puffy.”

Hengstebeck insists thieves were targeting the wrong house. “There is nothing of value in this house. Nothing.”

He says his mother-in-law is in “pretty bad shape.” She has a broken nose and a concussion. She will likely have to undergo an operation to reduce pressure on her brain.

Neighbor Marvin Holkan told Mills he is horrified someone who punch an elderly woman who has to use a walker to get around. He says, “You really have to be a low-life piece of trash to do something like this to a woman, let alone an elderly woman.”

Mills says police are investigating a burglary that happened around the same time one block over. They believe the same suspect(s) might be involved in both cases.

Anyone with information was urged to call Riverside police Detective Mike Medici at (951) 353-7104.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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