A sexual assault suspect who was chased and knocked unconscious by a group of bystanders near a Ventura beach has died, spurring a homicide investigation, police said Tuesday.
Jose Mendez, 31, had been hospitalized since the May 5 incident. He succumbed to his injuries on Monday, according to a Ventura Police Department news release.
Detectives are investigating the death as a homicide, the release said. An investigation into the sexual assault case remains ongoing.
Mendez was accused of sexually assaulting a woman near Emma Wood State Beach on the evening of May 5.
The woman had been walking her dog when she headed toward the shoreline and let the canine off the leash. The dog went into some nearby brush and she followed.
That’s when Mendez allegedly sexually assaulted her, according to investigators.
She screamed, which prompted the attacker to flee and attracted the attention of several people who were in the riverbottom, police said.
Upon hearing the woman had been assaulted, the group chased Mendez down and knocked him out, according to the release. He was then placed in a pull wagon that was left along the bike path adjacent to the Ventura County Fairgrounds.
Police were called to the scene where they found Mendez unconscious. The woman, who had gone to the bike path to wait for officers, identified him as the assailant, authorities said.
Mendez was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries 20 days later.