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Candlelight vigil set for woman who died from Venice Canals assault

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CBS News Los Angeles Live

A candlelight vigil takes place Thursday night in Venice in memory of the woman who was brutally attacked and died after being in a coma from the assault two months ago along the Venice Canals.

Sarah Alden, 53, was one of two women attacked, sexually assaulted and beaten Saturday April 6. Both women were left unconscious after the attacks and Alden remained in a coma since the attack and was taken off life support on May 24.

Alden, a Massachusetts resident, was a mother of two sons and was in the process of moving to Venice when the attack occurred.

According to a GoFundMe page established to help pay funeral expenses, she was planning to meet friends for breakfast on April 7, the morning after the attack, to tell them she was moving to the Los Angeles area from Massachusetts.

The alleged assailant, Anthony Francisco Jones, 29, was arrested in San Diego a few days following the attacks and charged with two counts of forcible rape and one count each of sexual penetration by use of force, mayhem, torture, attempted murder and sodomy by use of force.

Following Alden's death, the District Attorney's Office announced that Jones had also been charged with murder.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the first attack occurred about 10:30 p.m. April 6 in the 2700 block of Strongs Drive, where Alden was approached from behind and struck with a blunt object, leaving her unconscious.

In the same manner, the suspect attacked another woman about an hour later as she was walking near the Sherman Canal. That woman also suffered severe injuries but survived.

On Alden's GoFundMe page, friends said that she was looking to start a new chapter in her life.

"She was a lover of sunrises on the east coast and sunsets on the west coast," a friend wrote on the page. "Sarah adored her two sons, her animals, and was blessed with a refined eye for vintage jewelry which she sold on At 53 years old, Sarah was looking to start a new chapter in her journey; to walk a new road. Instead, her life was violently taken from her."

The candlelight vigil takes place at 7:30 p.m  in the 2600 block of Grand Canal.

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