SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – A suspect has been arrested in the home invasion robbery that left an 88-year-old woman badly beaten and in intensive care, authorities announced Thursday.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department said Zachary Cuen was taken into custody on Wednesday night.
“This was a heinous crime committed by a heartless individual,” said Santa Clara County Undersheriff Carl Neusel during a Thursday afternoon press conference. “Our hearts go out to the victim and we will do all we can to hold the suspect accountable for his deplorable actions.”
Neusel credited neighbors of the victim, who he referred to as “Miss Flo,” with notifying authorities. They noticed that her car was not parked in its customary spot in her driveway and, sensing something was wrong, found the victim beaten in her home when they checked on her.
The neighbors immediately called 911.
“We could not have made the arrest and Miss Flo would likely have not gotten the medical treatment she needed if it weren’t for the wonderful neighbors,” said Neusel.
Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department detectives Sgt. Josh Singleton and Sgt. James Cardenas led the investigation, identifying Cuen as a suspect after canvasing the neighborhood and examining physical evidence.
Once Cuen was identified as a suspect, detectives put him under 24-hour surveillance and made their arrest shortly thereafter.
Authorities said the investigation into the case was ongoing, and that efforts were continuing to determine the identity of an accomplice in the crime if there was an accomplice in the violent home invasion.
Miss Flo’s granddaughter also spoke at the press conference, thanking the sheriff’s department for their diligence and making a tearful plea that anyone with information about the brutal attack come forward.
Deputy Rich Glennon said his department responded to a call of a woman beaten at a home in the 200 block of North Cragmont Avenue shortly before 8 p.m. Monday night.
Arriving deputies found the 88-year-old woman who had been badly beaten and her home ransacked. The woman had been robbed of her jewelry and her car had been stolen out of the garage.
“We believe two suspects entered her home and beat her,” said Glennon. “She had extensive facial trauma, head trauma. We know jewelry was removed from her person. They also ransacked her home and stole her vehicle.”
Neighbors said Miss Flo has lived at the home for more than 40 years.
“It breaks my heart a lot. I’ve known her all my life. And to see something like this happen to such a good person,” said neighbor Phyllis Silva. “Why does this have to happen? It’s not right and it’s not fair and I hope to God they catch whoever did it.”
Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 408-808-4431.
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