Southern California sexual assault suspect dies after beating


FILE – Police keep watch over the less restricted beachfront over Memorial Day weekend May 24, 2020 in Ventura, California. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images – FILE)

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — A man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman walking her dog near a Ventura beach has died afer he was beaten by a group of people who may have come from a nearby homeless encampment, authorities said.

Jose Mendez, 31, of Ventura, had been hospitalized since the May 5 attack and died Monday, a Police Department statement said.

His death is being investigated as a homicide but no arrests were immediately made as police tried to find the attackers.

Investigators said Mendez was suspected of sexually assaulting a woman as she headed to Emma Wood State Beach during an evening dog walk.

She unleashed the dog and followed it into some brush where she was assaulted, investigators said.

The woman screamed and the man fled but several people in a nearby river bottom where there was a homeless camp chased Mendez and knocked him unconscious, police said.

He was then placed in a pull wagon and left on a bike path near the Ventura County Fairgrounds, authorities said.

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