A Miami woman was “bludgeoned,” “strangled” and beaten into a coma on her 23rd birthday by a roommate she met on Craigslist, her family says.
Danielle Jones, 23, is fighting for her life, while her roommate, 35-year-old Byron Mitchell, has been charged with attempted murder, NBC South Florida reports.
The attack happened on Valentine’s Day, February 14, not long after Mitchell moved into the apartment with Jones, her family says.
“I’m still in shock, I can’t comprehend that someone can do this to someone, mutilate them in such a way and try to kill them,” Aimee Nikolov, Jones’ mother, told NBC. She said her daughter was “young, vibrant and independent” before the violent attack.
Here’s what you need to know:
Warning: The article below contains graphic photos of the victim released by her family.
1. Jones’ Mother Says Her Daughter Is ‘Cut Up Like He Was Going to Take Her Face Off’
Danielle Jones’ mother, Aimme Nikolov, told NBC South Florida her daughter has been in a coma since the attack.
“My daughter’s face is cut up like he was going to take her face off. She has a brain injury and no one knows what the prognosis is,” Nikolov said.
The family posted the photos to GoFundMe.
“Bringing attention to this and raise some type of awareness for other people to be careful because I can’t explain in words how hard it is to see her like this,” her cousin, Kaitlin Cabot, said on the GoFundMe page.
“She has scars everywhere, around her eyes, lips. She has slashes all down her head,” Cabot, 16, told NBC.
2. Her Family Says Mitchell Moved Into the Apartment a Week Before the Attack
Jones’ family says she met Byron Mitchell through Craigslist and he moved in to the apartment about a week before the assault. She was hoping to save money by having someone live with her.
Her family hopes the attack will be a cautionary tale for others.
“Be more careful,” her mother, Aimee Nikolov, told Local 10. “And maybe Craigslist should implement some background checks.”
3. Mitchell Says He Was Defending Himself After Jones Came at Him With a Knife
Byron Mitchell told police he was defending himself because Jones came at him with a knife, CBS News reports.
Miami Police spokesman Lieutenant Freddie Cruz told the Miami Herald no other details of the attack are available.
“There are conflicting statements, and it’s up in the air if there was a relationship between the two,” he said.
4. He Is Being Held Without Bail on the Attempted Murder Charge
Mitchell is being held without bail at the Metro West Detention Center on the attempted murder charge, the Miami Herald reports.
He has pleaded not guilty.
Mitchell says on his Facebook page he is a “health and fitness business owner.”
5. Jones Opened Her Eyes for the First Time on Sunday
Jones’ family says she is still in intensive care, but she opened her eyes for the first time Sunday.
“I can see that she’s moving a little bit as if she’s uncomfortable,” Aimee Nikolov told Local 10. “She starts to move her hands and she chokes on tubes a little bit.”
Nikolov earlier said the family is praying for the best.
“We hold on to hope. It’s in God’s hands, but it’s day six and she hasn’t woken up,” her mother told NBC South Florida.
Her cousin, Kaitlin Cabot, who set up the GoFundMe page, says the family believes in miracles.
She is in a coma, intubated and holding on to life,” Cabot wrote. “If and when she wakes, she will need extensive care and rehabilitation. Please help her any way you can. Even if just with prayers.”
Jones, a Miami Palmetto High School graduate, was working as a human resources manager for Bison Business Consulting, according to her Facebook page.