IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — A 51-year-old man accused of attacking a woman while she was walking her dog in Irvine has been arrested.
The incident unfolded in the 100 block of Rockwood Street about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday just feet from Sara Hurtado’s front door.
“I thought I was living in a community where nothing could happen,” said Rocio Fitzsimons, Hurtado’s daughter. “I cannot describe what I feel in the moment when I saw my mother on the ground bleeding.”
The suspect identified by police as Craig Andrew Ledbetter of Irvine is accused of knocking the 75-year-old Hurtado to the ground and beating her with a stick. Police said the man was naked.
From her hospital bed Wednesday night, Hurtado told CBS2/KCAL9 in Spanish that she thought she was going to die.
“He sat over her and he started beating her on the face, on the upper chest,” Fitzsimons said.
But Hurtado’s son-in-law says it didn’t end there.
“Our dog must have upset him by interfering. He took the dog by the leash and starting spinning it around,” Neil Fitzsimons said.
The family’s dog named Dukay took off. Authorities searched for hours and found Dukay near the 405 Freeway.
“We just moved in here three months ago and absolutely shocking to have this happen here,” he said.
Police subdued Ledbetter with a Taser and took him into custody. His former wife claims he’s been violent before.
“I’m hoping that there is going to be a restraining order put in place where he can’t come back,” she said.
Rocio Fitzsimons says she’s concerned for her family’s safety.
“He shouldn’t be back in the society, and I’m afraid that he will do again this to other people,” she said.
Ledbetter was booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of aggravated assault, elder abuse, resisting a police officer and animal cruelty.
Hurtado remains hospitalized with swollen eyes, a dislocated arm and internal bleeding.
The incident remains under investigation.
Anyone with more information about this case was asked to call Detective Gavin Hudson at (949) 724-7168.