Community gathers to pray for San Jose woman beaten in home invasion robbery

Byby Lonnie Rivera KGO logo
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Community gathers to pray for SJ home invasion victim
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Family and friends of an elderly woman brutally beaten in a San Jose home came together Friday night to pray for not only the victim, but also the young man arrested in connection with the crime.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Family and friends of an elderly woman brutally beaten in a San Jose home came together Friday night. They're hoping and praying that "Miss Flo" can make a full recovery.

RELATED: Man arrested in beating of 88-year-old woman in San Jose

The 88-year-old victim is still in critical condition, but her family tells ABC7 News that in the last 24 hours they've seen some hopeful signs of recovery.

A community gathered through song, prayer, and candles Friday night. Family, church members, and neighbors honored the victim.

"We are a very devout Christian family," said the victim's niece, Pam Zelaski. "And prayer and singing is a big part of it."

Earlier this week, the elderly woman was severely beaten in her home during a home invasion robbery.

"She was beaten beyond recognition to the point where when I first looked upon her, I had to question if that was really her," said the victim's nephew, Pastor Michael Wallace.

RELATED: Family asks public for help after violent San Jose Home Invasion Robbery

But in another hospital visit, her nephew witnessed remarkable progress.

Wallace: "She had responded to our voices, both her eyes were open."

Rivera: "How did she respond, did she smile a little?"

Wallace: "She smiled and one of my cousins told her I was there and she muttered, 'I know.'"

The victim's niece Bridget Vaughn adds, "She is a strong woman, her mind is sharp, she's a young 88."

Sheriff's detectives arrested 19-year-old Zachary Cuen in connection with the crime. And they're pursuing other leads.

RELATED: Elderly woman beaten hospitalized following San Jose home invasion

There were even prayer requests for the suspect.

"We have not together prayed for the perpetrator, we need to pray for the young man in custody," said one woman.

As for Miss Flo's family and friends, they are hopeful she'll pull through.

"She is the matriarch of our family," said Vaughn.

She's frail, small in stature, but they say her spirit is strong and vibrant.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call the sheriff's office's 24-hour tip line at (408) 808-4431.

Click here for a GoFundMe account that has been set up for Miss Flo.