One victim of brutal Venice attacks is declared brain-dead, sources say

LOS ANGELES, APRIL 19, 2019: The Venice Canal Historic District is known for it?s man-made canals. The canals were built in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney as part of his Venice of America plan with a goal to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy, in Southern California. (Allison Zaucha/For The Times)
A victim of one of last month's attack in the Venice Canals was pronounced brain dead, according to sources. (Allison Zaucha / For The Times)

A victim of last month’s attacks in the Venice canals was declared brain-dead after a monthlong coma, sources confirmed to The Times on Tuesday.

Two women were severely beaten and sexually assaulted in attacks that occurred one after the other on April 6 between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m., the Los Angeles County’s district attorney’s office said last month in a statement.

The first attack occurred in the 2700 block of Strongs Drive when a woman was approached from behind and struck with a hard object. The second woman was attacked in a similar way, police said, less than a mile away near Sherman Canal.

Both women were alone when they were attacked.

The woman who was declared brain-dead was reportedly visiting from Massachusetts and staying at a nearby Airbnb the night of the attack. She has not been publicly identified.

“We are aware of the tragic circumstances surrounding one of the victims of last month’s brutal sexual assaults at the Venice canals,” the district attorney’s office told The Times on Tuesday. “Our hearts and deepest sympathies go out to the victim’s family and friends during this unimaginably difficult time. Our office is evaluating how we will proceed to ensure the defendant is held fully accountable for his conduct.”

Last month, the district attorney’s office charged Anthony Francisco Jones, 29, on multiple counts for the attacks, including rape, torture and attempted murder.

A second victim, a Venice resident, was also badly beaten. According to a recent message posted to a GoFundMe on her behalf, she has been released from the hospital but is unable to work for some time until she’s fully healed. The fundraiser has received nearly $100,000 for her care.

She previously spoke with KTLA-5 from her hospital bed. She said her teeth were “knocked out” and that, although the details of the attack were fuzzy, she remembered being on the ground.

“I think he was trying to kill me,” she said of the assailant.

The Times generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Traci Park, whose district includes Venice, said in a statement Tuesday that she was "devastated to receive this news about the victim in the horrific Venice Canals attack."

“My prayers are with her family in this moment of loss and I want to extend my condolences on behalf of the entire Venice and Westside communities,” Park said. “While nothing can reverse this terrible tragedy, I hope the family is able to feel solace knowing that the perpetrator of this crime has been apprehended and justice will be served.”

Times staff writer David Zahniser contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.