NYC grandmother dies months after being struck in head with rock in Queens

ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- A 62-year-old grandmother in Queens has died weeks after she woke up from a coma after she was bashed in the head with a rock more than two months ago.

When Eyewitness News spoke to the family of GuiYing Ma earlier in February, they said it was nothing short of a miracle that she was showing some signs of improvement.

However, on Monday, Eyewitness News learned that Ma had died on Feb. 22. Her cause of death is homicide based on complications of a traumatic head injury.

The once outgoing, friendly and kind grandmother was sweeping her Jackson Heights sidewalk after Thanksgiving last year when someone bashed her on the head with a rock.

She had since been in a coma at Elmhurst Hospital until she showed signs of hope earlier in February.

The attack permanently damaged the right side of Ma's brain. But the love between Ma and her husband, Zhanxin Gao, remained. Despite being connected to a ventilator and a feeding tube, Ma responded to Gao by moving her eyes and tearing up when Gao would speak to her at the hospital.

A 33-year-old man has been arrested for the savage attack. His next court hearing is in April.

The victim's husband is hoping he will not be allowed to destroy other lives

"Before this incident, he was arrested 14 times. If he was released again, it's highly possible he will attack other people again," Gao said.

"Mrs. Ma came to New York four years ago from Liaoning, China," her family wrote in a statement. "She will be remembered as an outgoing, friendly and kind individual who took care of everyone, and insisted on giving to others even when she had very little to give. She is survived by her husband, a son and two grandchildren. Services for Mrs. Ma will be announced after her son is able to arrange travel to New York City."

Her family went on to say that their loved one is the fourth Asian American to die in NYC in the last two months as a result of violence against the AAPI community.

"The deaths of Mrs. Ma, Yao Pan Ma, Michelle Go, and Christina Yuna Lee have made many in the AAPI community feel unsafe," her family said in a statement. "The family urges tougher law enforcement to keep everyone in the AAPI community safe and in particular, the elderly members of our community."

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