San Jose

‘Our Hearts Are Broken': San Jose Woman, 88, Dies After Being Viciously Beaten During Home Invasion Robbery

A beloved 88-year-old San Jose woman, who was brutally beaten during a home invasion robbery last month, died early Saturday as a result of injuries sustained during the attack, sheriff's deputies said.

Zachary Cuen is suspected of viciously beating and robbing Flo Douglas and will likely be charged with murder, according to Sgt. Richard Glennon from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. 

"Our hearts are broken," said Pastor Michael Wallace, Flo Douglas' nephew. Some in the family are "crushed," while others "very angry," he said.

Sources close to the investigation say they have a video of Cuen using Douglas' credit card and driving her car.

An outraged Wallace has a message for Cuen, he told NBC Bay Area. 

"I would just tell the truth, despite what anyone has told you," he said. "Tell the truth for your own conscience sake."

Douglas was in the intensive care unit after suffering hemmorraging in her eye and brain. She was showing signs of improvement in recent days, but died at 1:50 a.m. Saturday.

"As time has progressed, we've been encouraged by some of the progress we've heard, so today was a complete shock for us to find out that she passed away," Glennon said. 

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office took to Twitter to convey their condolence.

"Miss Flo, a community pillar, passed away. With heavy hearts, we mourn w/ the community & will ensure justice is served in this murder," they wrote.

Prosecutors say the 19-year-old parolee was trying to kill Douglas during a robbery at her home in the Alum Rock neighborhood on Sept. 12. 

"When the victim, Ms. Douglas, said she didn’t have any money, he started punching and kicking her multiple times," deputy district attorney Rebekah Wise said last month. "Ms. Douglas fell to the floor. He then continued to kick her."

Wise said Cuen also threatened to kill the woman known around the neighborhood as "Miss Flo."

The attack happened in the home where Douglas lived alone. Investigators said Cuen initially left then returned to beat the victim again, ransacking her house and stealing her car. Detectives said they also found one of Cuen’s fingerprints at the home.

Cuen, who lived across the street from Douglas, was on probation in connection with a February vehicle theft and hit-and-run. He also attempted to burglarize an 85-year-old woman who lives in the same neighborhood as Douglas, sources said.

During Douglas' recovery, neighbors and family members held vigils outside her house. On Saturday, some of those candles still burned under a sign that wished Douglas a speedy recovery. It will now be a memorial for a woman who made it her life's mission to help and care about others.

"She has worked all her life and to have that snatched from her is really sad," Wallace said.

A GoFundMe account had been set up to help Douglas' family pay for her ongoing medical care. It will now be used for her final expenses.

Details pertaining to Douglas' funeral service have not yet been finalized, according to the family.

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