NORWALK, Calif. – A woman who was brutally beaten by an armed home invader who then kidnapped her son is beginning the long road to recovery.
The break-in occurred on Aug. 2 at the home of Maria Romero in Norwalk, located near Studebaker Road and Alondra Boulevard.
The armed man used a hammer he found in the home’s yard to smash a sliding glass door and proceeded to beat Romero with the same tool.
The former LAUSD teacher suffered a fractured skull and several facial bones, a broken wrist and finger and damage to her eye socket.
“I’ve had reconstructive surgery twice. I guess part of my bone I needed was found in my cheek,” she told KTLA 5’s Kimberly Cheng. “My nerves were severed; there’s no chance of me getting my eyesight back in my left eye.”
Despite fighting back against the intruder with all her strength, Romero eventually fell unconscious, and that’s when the armed robber kidnapped her adult son, who has Down syndrome.
“The same video that shows him going into the property shows him carrying my son out,” said Romero’s husband Frank Andrade, who was not home at the time.
Maria and Frank’s son was eventually located unharmed, but due to the traumatic experience, he is now temporarily living with relatives.
Residents are shaken by such a brutal attack in the middle of the day and now some are taking action to protect themselves and the neighborhood.
“We are in the process of scheduling a public safety neighborhood watch program,” said nearby resident and former Norwalk Mayor Bob Arthur. “So that the neighbors in our area become more aware of their surroundings and what they can do should an event like this happen in the future.”
Neither Andrade nor Romero recognize the home intruder, and they still don’t know why their house was targeted.
A court notice received by the victims identified the suspect as Tyrone Howard. He was apprehended at a local shopping center shortly after the armed robbery and kidnapping.
According to witnesses, Howard had approached other homes in the area on the same day rambling about “looking for his child.”
To donate to a GoFundMe set up to help offset Maria’s medical costs, click here.