Suspect in brutal Venice Canals attacks charged with murder after victim taken off life support

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 12, 2024 - Los Angeles City Council Member Traci Park, with LAPD Pacific Division Captain Michael Applegate, during a press conference announcing the arrest of a suspect in the Venice Canal attacks at the LAPD Pacific Division in Los Angeles on April 12, 2024. The name of the suspect is Anthony Jones, 29, who was apprehended in San Diego. On the evening of April 6 two women were clubbed from behind in separate incidents in the Venice Canal community. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles City Councilmember Traci Park, with L.A. Police Capt. Michael Applegate, spoke at an April 12 news conference announcing an arrest in the Venice sexual assaults. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The man accused of raping and beating two women in brutal attacks in the Venice Canals in April now faces a murder charge after one of the victims died from her injuries, officials said.

“Our hearts and deepest sympathies go out to the victim’s family and friends during this unimaginably tragic time,” Los Angeles Dist. Atty. George Gascón said in a news release announcing the murder charge Tuesday. “We are committed to seeking justice for both victims of these heinous crimes."

Anthony Francisco Jones had already been charged with two counts forcible rape, one count of sexual penetration by use of force, one count of mayhem, one count of torture, and one count of sodomy by use of force in connection with the April 6 attacks.

Sarah Alden, a 53-year-old mother of two, was left in a coma, and a second woman was hospitalized with significant injuries, including multiple fractures to her jaw.

Read more: Suspect in clubbing of two women near Venice canals arrested in San Diego

Alden was declared brain-dead May 20 and removed from life support four days later, after her organs were donated, according to a GoFundMe page set up for her memorial.

"The additional murder charge carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, in addition to the life sentences for the crimes previously alleged,” Gascón said in the release.

The survivor described her ordeal to The Times from her hospital bed in the immediate aftermath of the attack. She had gone for a walk after work to reach her daily 10,000-steps goal when she was struck to the ground and brutalized, leaving her with at least eight fractures to her jaw, several teeth knocked in, a large cut to the back of the head and severe bruising covering her face and neck, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help cover her medical expenses.

A single mother and longtime Venice resident known for her elaborate sand sculptures of mermaids, she also suffered seizures following two brain bleeds from the attack.

"Wasn’t all together myself till now!" the survivor wrote in an update on May 20. "Thank you for all the love you have given me."

The Times generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Jones is set to appear in court on June 11.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.