Woman recalls being nearly beaten to death by Venice canal attacker

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A woman recalls the terrifying moment she was nearly beaten to death by an attacker while walking along the canals of Venice, California.

On April 6, the victim, Mary Klein, 54, was walking near her home at around 10:30 p.m. when a man suddenly ambushed her from behind.

“All of a sudden, I just get knocked out,” Mary told KTLA’s Chris Wolfe as she recovered in a hospital bed. “My teeth got knocked out. My jaw is wired shut. He bashed my face in.”

Mary said the brunt force knocked her into an instant daze. She only remembers falling to the ground and being bludgeoned as the suspect repeatedly punched her in the head and face.

“I think he was trying to kill me,” she said. “It was like being hit by a truck.”

The brutal attack left Mary with severe injuries including fractures to her jaw, broken teeth, a large gash on the back of her head and multiple contusions. Her face and chest are severely bruised and swollen and she faces a long road to recovery ahead.

  • Mary Klein, seen with severe injuries and bruising, speaks to KTLA from her hospital bed on April 12, 2024. (KTLA)
  • The suspect, Anthony Jones, 29, seen walking around the Venice canals area on April 6, 2024.
  • The suspect, Anthony Jones, 29, seen walking around the Venice canals area on April 6, 2024.
  • Venice attacks
  • 2 women violently assaulted by same man in Southern California, police say
  • Mary Klein, 54, is seen in a photo posted on GoFundMe.
  • The suspect in the Venice canal attacks is seen on a Ring security camera video on April 6, 2024. (Viewer video)
  • Venice Canal Attack Victim
  • Venice Canal Attack Victim

Mary is a single mother, home healthcare nurse, a soon-to-be grandmother and a local artist.

Loved ones said she will require many surgeries and will need mental health support and guidance along with physical therapy. Because Mary works as a full-time caregiver to an elderly woman with ALS, she hopes to recover as soon as possible.

Mary was one of two women who were attacked along the Venice canals on April 6. A second woman, who was not yet identified, is currently in a coma.

On Friday, April 12, police confirmed the suspect, Anthony Jones, 29, was arrested late Thursday night in San Diego. Police described Jones as a Black man standing around 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing about 200 pounds. He is also believed to be a transient.

In the first attack on April 6, police said the man approached a woman from behind in the 2700 block of Strongs Drive near the Grand Canal and struck her in the head with a hard object, knocking her unconscious.

In the second attack, which occurred about an hour later, police said the same man assaulted a woman who was walking near the Sherman Canal.

Police confirmed that both attacks had a “sexual element” to them. Jones was captured on surveillance footage walking near the canals that night.

Mary said she was relieved to hear of the suspect’s arrest and hopes it will prevent more innocent victims from being harmed.

“I was crying because I was so worried about the other girl [victim] and I hope she makes it,” Mary said tearfully. “I’m lucky I survived and I feel so sad for her and I hope she’s okay.”

Mary’s son, Robert Klein, said he is thankful his mother is alive and hopes the suspect will be punished severely.

“I want predators and violent attackers to be held accountable, have longer sentences and just not be out on the streets with our family members,” he said.

Mary said she is incredibly thankful to the Los Angeles Police Department for their work in this case, calling them “warriors” who are protecting the community. She said she is especially grateful to Lesley Perkins and Asia Hodge as the investigators who helped catch the attacker.

Although she has no hate in her soul for the suspect, she believes he should be sentenced to prison for life. Mary also wants local officials to prioritize tackling mental health issues, drug abuse and homelessness in Southern California.

The suspect was booked into the LAPD Metropolitan Detention Center on two counts of attempted murder. He is being held on $3.25 million.

A GoFundMe page created to help Mary with medical expenses can be found here.

Police said the case would soon be presented to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.

Following the attacks, LAPD said it would be increasing patrols around the Venice canals.

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