(INSIDE EDITION) - A comatose woman fighting for her life after a man who answered her Craigslist post searching for a roommate allegedly attacked her on Valentine’s Day has opened her eyes for the first time, family holding hope for a full recovery said.
Danielle Jones, 23, was allegedly stabbed and beaten by her 35-year-old Byron Mitchell, who answered the young woman’s listing for a roommate to move into her Miami apartment less than a week earlier, police said.
The vicious attack occurred on Jones’s birthday, her cousin wrote on the crowdsourcing site GoFundMe.
Jones “was bludgeoned, strangled and face mutilated in an attempted murder by a man she had accepted as a roommate after she placed an ad on Craigslist,” her cousin wrote.
Mitchell reportedly called 911 after the incident, claiming that Jones attacked him and he acted in self-defense.
He was arrested one day after the alleged assault and charged with attempted murder. He was being held without bond, according to court records.
“Self-defense would be a black eye (or) a broken nose,” Jones’s mother, Aimee Nikolov, told WPLG-TV.
On Sunday, Nikolov shared video of Jones opening her eyes with the television station.
“I can see that she’s moving a little bit as if she’s uncomfortable. She starts to move her hand,” Nikolov told WPLG-TV.
The progress is a welcome development that her family had been hoping for since the attack.
“Your prayers are working! Though my cousin is still unresponsive and in a comatose state, she opened a slither of her eyes today,” her family wrote on GoFundMe on Sunday. “Who knows what will come next. Thank you so much for all the support. We love her so so much.”
Nearly $18,000 had been raised to offset medical costs by Monday, as a man who identified himself as a friend posted details about the attack in an attempt to put an end arguments over racism that were taking place on the page.
“This has nothing to do with race. And the story is simple. She is my friend and she was looking for a roommate to move in as of Feb 8th to help relieve some financial burden. At some point between then and the 14th this guy, who she did not know, answered her Craigslist ad and she accepted,” Nicholas Mohammadpour wrote.
“Now for anyone who knows her, knows she is a kind person. And if tou (sic) for one second believe this grown a** man and self proclaimed ‘fitness trainer’ needed to go to the lengths he did to ‘defend himself’ is a blatant fool,” he continued.
Officials said Jones, who wrote on Facebook that she works as an HR manager, may have incurred serious brain damage during the attack.
“If and when she wakes, she will need extensive care and rehabilitation,” her family wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Please help her any way you can. Even if just with prayers…”
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