PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - There’s now a reward of $7,000 being offered after a soldier – who got a leave for the holidays – was beaten up leaving the Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day.
Private Austin Freni, 19, and his family were jumped by about a dozen men at 3rd Street and Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia.
The Frenis said Austin was on the phone, getting a hotel room, and mentioned he was in the Army. And that’s when a group of men overheard and mocked him for it.
None of the attackers have been identified but they’re believed to be young, between 18 and 20 years old.
"It goes from jeans to boots to vests. There was nothing like descriptive," his mother Lori told FOX 29 News, adding, "The only thing that we do have that was able to be grabbed, we have a black, very worn black Tommy Hilfiger hat."
Austin was only able to return home from Fort Benning, Georgia, for a pre-Christmas surprise arranged by a stranger, after his mother struggled to pay the airfare. Times have been tough since Austin's dad died of brain cancer and she lost work due to disability.
Next, Austin was supposed to be deployed to the Middle East.
Instead, he was taken to Jefferson University Hospital with severe facial injuries. He returned home with his jaw wired shut.
Austin's mom maintains she saw someone videotape the attack, so it’s out there but authorities have not seen it.
Police say they have no update on the case.
The Citizen Crime Commission is administering a $7,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people who attacked and beat Freni. Its tip line is 215-546-8477.