The Corona hospital that cared for a homeless woman who died in a public daytime stabbing plans to pay for a proper burial for the still unidentified victim, and is raising funds in the wake of the brutal killing.
Corona Regional Medical Center on Tuesday said on Facebook that it was working to cover the woman’s services.
“At Corona Regional Medical Center, we’re saddened by the death of the recently slain homeless Corona resident, and we want to give her the burial she deserves,” the hospital wrote. “We’ve offered to pay for her burial expenses and we’re working with Thomas Miller Mortuary to make this possible.”
The victim was fatally stabbed in the parking lot in front of a 99 Cents Only store on Main Street in Corona about 11 a.m. Sept. 22. The Riverside County coroner’s office still has not released her name, pending family notification, but witnesses said she was well known and often sat on a bench in front of the strip mall where she was attacked.
Shortly after the attack, Steven Loia, 54, was arrested. He was charged with murder on Monday, when his arraignment was postponed to Oct. 11, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Investigators have not determined what relationship, if any, Loia has to the victim, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported Monday.
Initially described as transient, Loia was found to have been renting a room a quarter-mile from the site of the killing, the newspaper reported.
The victim was taken to Corona Regional Medical Center, where she was declared dead.
Dozens of people came to a makeshift memorial for her, leaving balloons, flowers and cards. A vigil was held the night of the killing.
Multiple people said the woman was gracious and sweet but refused offers of help. She was deeply religious, Corona residents said.
The victim was walking across the parking lot when her assailant attacked for no apparent reason, according to a witness who was working outside the 99-cent store that morning.
“As she was screaming and laying on the floor bleeding to death, he went across the street … and got this bat,” Alecia Aquino said.
Witnesses who ran to help the victim moved back when the assailant approached again, Aquino said. He swung the bat right at the victim’s skull three or four times and then struck her neck and shoulder blades, she recalled.
Aquino said she called 911, hysterically asking officers to arrive quickly.
“She’s a humble lady,” Aquino said. “I can’t believe what this world’s coming to.”
The hospital, meanwhile, said the mortuary was accepting checks and cash.
Donations will be used for a “naming opportunity to memorialize the woman (if approved by the city) or to donate to a local charity that provides services for the homeless,” the hospital said.
“We love our community and our hearts go out to all affected by this situation,” the post concluded.
Contact information for the Thomas Miller Mortuary is on its website.