A New York City grandmother has died three months after she was repeatedly hit in the head with a large rock. GuiYing Ma, 62, was attacked the day after Thanksgiving while she was sweeping the sidewalk outside a building in the Jackson Heights neighborhood in Queens, the New York Daily News reports. Elisaul Perez, 33, was arrested the day after the attack and charged with offenses including assault with intent to disfigure and dismember. "We are reviewing the latest development in this tragedy and will add or upgrade any appropriate charges supported by the evidence," a spokesperson for the Queens DA said after Ma's death.
The right side of Ma's brain was damaged in the attack, and she spent 10 weeks in a coma, but she woke up in early February and seemed to be on the mend, CNN reports. Yihung Hsieh, who started a GoFundMe campaign for Ma, says she wasn't able to speak, but she could wave at husband Zanxin Gao. "Just one day earlier he was staying with her and she was waving her hand. Everything looked like it was getting better," he says. "Then the next day we got a phone call from the hospital and the doctor said she had no heartbeat anymore.”
Ma—who arrived in New York from China four years ago—is the fourth person in the city to die from violence directed at the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the last two months, the Guardian reports. The NYPD said in November that the attack on Ma was being investigated by its Hate Crimes Task Force, though no hate crime charges have been filed against Perez, who has been in custody since his arrest. According to the GoFundMe campaign, the suspect had "multiple prior arrests, a long criminal record, and was known to be a menace to the community." (Read more New York City stories.)