LEBANON, Ore. (KOIN) — A 49-year-old with cerebral palsy is in a coma after being beaten and left for dead in an apparent effort to steal his bike.
Ronald Whitehead was beaten on Aug. 5 in Lebanon, and two teens are in custody over the incident.
That night, Whitehead was out on a bike ride about 1 ½ miles from his home when he was attacked and left for dead, found bloody and unconscious in a ditch near a gravel area just off Industrial Way by an employee working nearby.
His mother, Loydine Whitehead, told KOIN 6 News he was able to take short bike rides around Lebanon.
“He just goes around visiting, gets on his bike and goes around town,” she said. “He is disabled. He’s on Social Security.”
When police came to her house to tell her about her son, she said she “was just horrified.”
Jesse Jay Jimenez, 19, and a 17-year-old randomly beat him and stole his bike, police said. They both face first-degree robbery and second-degree assault charges, but those could change with Whitehead’s condition.
The 17-year-old is being held in the juvenile detention facility but is being charged as an adult. They are scheduled to appear in Linn County Court Aug. 19.
Lebanon police were able to link the suspects to the scene from evidence left there. They were arrested three days later.
“How could they do that why did they do that all over a bicycle?” Loydine Whitehead said. “My other kids have all gone on and made their own lives, but he was all I had left.”
She said her son was beaten so badly he’s unrecognizable. Now, she prays he’ll wake up.
“I was just horrified. This isn’t Ron. This can’t be Ron. It’s a mistake. It wasn’t, I knew it wasn’t. I wanted it to be. It wasn’t.
“It was my son.”
His family set up a Facebook page called Justice for Ron Whitehead. A medical fund for Whitehead also has been established:
Ron Whitehead Medical Care Fund
Willamette Community Bank
333 Lyon St. SE
Albany, OR 97321
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