TACOMA, Washington - A 75-year-old woman is in what her family described as a “near-coma” after she hit her head during an attempted purse snatching at Tacoma Mall on Monday.
Cherie Cook was leaving the mall after shopping for wedding gifts in the middle of the afternoon when she was attacked from behind by a woman who tried to steal her purse, police said.
“She pulled her over backwards and her head hit the concrete,” said Matt Yanak, Cook’s son-in-law.
He said that after Cook hit the concrete, she lost consciousness and hasn’t shown any signs of recovery since.
Her family described her as vibrant and active for 75, but doctors have told the family her life may be forever changed by her injury.
“She’s physically moving around, but at the same time, she’s not cognizant,” Yanak said. “She’s not speaking, her eyes are closed – it’s a pretty scary time right now.”
Tacoma police are asking for help to track down the person responsible for the Cook’s injury.
Officers said the woman who tried to take Cook’s purse ran off empty handed. A surveillance camera caught a quick glimpse of the woman. Witnesses described her as black with a dark complexion, about 18-25 years old and 5 feet 9 inches tall with a very thin build. She was seen wearing glasses, possibly sunglasses.
Cook’s family said they’re hoping one of those witnesses will come forward.
“The anger piece comes out,” Yanak said. “Is this how we treat people in this country? Is this where our society is going? I hope not.”
Tacoma/Pierce County CrimeStoppers is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
Police said they’re convinced someone knows who Cook’s assailant is and can help lead investigators to her.
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AP Top U.S. News at 9:50 p.m. EDT