Downtown attack: Man fights for life after brutal beating
The Charlottesville man found brutally beaten in some bushes at the western end of the Downtown Mall continues to fight for his life at the UVA Medical Center, with no guarantee he'll survive what authorities are calling a "quite severe" beating.
"He's in the balance," says Dan Kartheiser, brother to 55-year-old Robert Edward Kartheiser, who was found battered and unresponsive amid some bushes near the Water Street bus stop.
City spokesperson Ric Barrick says police received a call about an injured man between the federal courthouse and the Omni hotel around 8am on August 14. Barrick notes that because Kartheiser was seen uninjured by police officers in the same general vicinity around midnight Friday he must have been attacked during the early morning hours of Saturday.
Hospitalized with severe internal injuries and skull fractures, Kartheiser has remained in intensive care for over a week, at presstime, with breathing assisted by a ventilator and with damaged kidneys assisted by dialysis.
Described in a city press release as homeless, Kartheiser has a colorful past that includes working in mechanical shops and in home-building. His brother notes that has restored log cabins and served on the crew that built the celebrated "tire house" near Batesville that was once owned by Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard.
Friends and family began calling Kartheiser "Roberto" after he returned from a 1980s journey to Nicaragua, when the plight of the government-resisting Sandinistas drew his attention.
Including a stepson, Kartheiser has four children ranging in age from 12 to 23, and seven siblings.
He has been unable to assist investigators because he remains unconscious.
"We're just hoping someone saw something," says Charlotteville Police Lieutenant Gary Pleasants because we can't speak to him."
Kartheiser, who has distinctively long gray and light brown hair, has been a regular visitor to the Downtown Mall. Pleasants urges anyone who saw Kartheiser after midnight Friday or anyone having any information that could assist the case to call Crimestoppers at 434-977-4000.
–updated 10:35am Wednesday, August 18 with victim's age, middle name, hair description, and quote from Pleasants.
–rewritten for print with additional details and medical updates at 1:51pm, Tuesday, August 24
–CORRECTION: The second photo originally ran with the caption asserting that the child in the photo was Kartheiser's and asserting an approximate photo date as late-1990s.