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Elderly woman dies from injuries sustained in home invasion robbery in San Jose

Elderly woman dies from injuries sustained in home invasion robbery in San Jose
Flo Douglas, 88, left, died early Saturday from injuries sustained in a Sept. 12 home invasion robbery. Zachary Cuen, 19, right, has been charged in connection with the case. (Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office)

An 88-year-old San Jose woman who was brutally beaten during a home invasion robbery last month died early Saturday from injuries she suffered in the attack, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

Flo Douglas, who was known as "Miss Flo" in her small community, was pronounced dead around 1:50 a.m. at a hospital, according to Sgt. Richard Glennon, a sheriff's spokesman.

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Douglas had been in the intensive care unit since the Sept. 12 attack.

"To get the news this morning was heartbreaking," Glennon said.

Douglas' death comes more than two weeks after prosecutors charged 19-year-old Zachary Cuen  with premeditated attempted murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and elder abuse. There are also enhancing allegations that Cuen personally inflicted great bodily injury on a person over 65.

Now that Douglas has died, Cuen will soon be charged with murder, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Cuen has not made a formal plea on the charges .

The violent attack was reported by a neighbor shortly before 8 p.m. in the 200 block of North Cragmont Avenue in East San Jose.

Glennon said the neighbor went to check on Douglas after seeing her car parked down the street and not in the driveway where it's normally parked. He said the neighbor peered through a window and saw Douglas on the ground bleeding.

Before Douglas was transported to the hospital by paramedics, she told deputies that she believed two men had attacked her.

"However, during the course of the investigation everything pointed to Mr. Cuen," Glennon said. "We're still investigating it, but he seems to be the one responsible for it."

Disturbing details of the violence that took place inside the house that night were laid out in a statement of facts by Santa Clara Sheriff's Sgt. James Cardenas, who was assigned to investigate the case.

According to Cardenas, a man entered Douglas' home and threatened to kill her if she didn't give him money.  When she told him she didn't have any money the man began to punch and kick her.

"Douglas fell to the floor and the male kicked her head and body several times," Cardenas said.

He said the man left but returned to demand money and kick her again.

"Douglas suffered several fractured bones, internal hemorrhaging in the eyes and brain as a result of his attack," Cardenas said.

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After beating Douglas, the man began to ransack the home and stole items. The man then fled in Douglas' car, which was found down the street.

Investigators found a latent print inside the home that they said led them to Cuen, who lived several blocks from Douglas' home. Investigators arrested Cuen Sept. 15.

The Mercury News reported that Cuen was on probation in connection with a February vehicle theft and hit-and-run. Cuen had also been arrested last year in an attempted burglary case that involved an 85-year-old woman.

The victim in that case also lived within a few blocks of Cuen, the paper reported.

Glennon said the Sept. 12 attack on Douglas has "rocked the neighborhood to the core."

He said Douglas was a prominent figure in her community.

"It was someone on the block that everybody knew," he said.

Days after the attack, Jocelyn Wallace Lewis created a GoFundMe account to help pay for her grandmother's medical expenses. St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, which Douglas attended, also held a candlelight vigil and a fundraiser to support Douglas' family.

Lewis could not be reached for comment. Church officials declined to comment for the story.

On a recent court hearing, Douglas' family told TV  reporters they were shocked about what had happened to their relative and demanded justice.

"My heart is so heavy," Bridget Vaughn, a niece, said. "This is unbelievable. I can't believe that our family is here right now."

For more Southern California news, follow @latvives on Twitter.

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