Crime

Three-Time Cancer Survivor Brutally Assaulted, Robbed

| by Reve Fisher
April and Marybel Centeno at a press conferenceApril and Marybel Centeno at a press conference

A California woman and three-time cancer survivor was brutally assaulted and robbed at gunpoint (video below).

Marybel Centeno of Fontana, California, suffered an attack by two armed robbers who stole her gold necklace. The incident took place on March 2 as she was walking to her car after leaving a Metro PCS phone store.

"He was very direct.  'I want your necklace,' and he ripped it off my neck," Marybel recalled to KABC News.

The 53-year-old cancer survivor tried to fight back and run away when the attacker dropped his gun. The men tackled her to the ground and beat her with a gun before escaping in a getaway car.

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"Why would they go and do this to a helpless woman?" April Centeno, Marybel’s daughter, said to KNBC News. "It makes me very angry."

As a result of the attack, Centeno suffered a fractured skull. The incident has greatly affected her ability to be independent. She has since moved in with April and must receive constant care and medical attention.

"She lost the ability to walk on her own," April said to Fontana Herald News. "The injury has also affected her memory. This is something that has taken over her whole life."

Local police report that two similar robberies have occurred in Fontana recently. In both cases, the suspects approached older women to steal jewelry and purses, according to Detective Matthew Roth.

"She appeared to be an easy target," Roth said of Marybel. "She has a warrior spirit. She has already beaten cancer three times. She wasn't going to let them make her a victim."

"I'm determined to live,” Marybel said. “I'm a fighter; I've always been a fighter, and I will never change.”

The suspects are young men with thin builds who were driven by an unidentified woman in a Black 1996 to 2002 Mercedes Benz E-class with tinted windows.

"I am just totally determined to find these young men," Marybel said. "I hope that somebody will come forward and help."

Sources: KABC News, Fontana Herald News, KNBC News / Photo credit: Fontana Herald News

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