Deputies: Man beat grandmother, stole her SUV

- Deputies hope to track down a man they said beat his 93-year-old grandmother, left her barely conscious by the side of the road and drove off.

Meanwhile, that man's mother couldn't believe what she now says about her son, "he just stole my heart. He stole my heart right out of me. I don't care now what happens to him."

Mary Jane Weigand said, after wondering why her car was missing, she found the 93-year-old, Leona Alderman, drifting in and out of consciousness.

Doctors said Alderman suffered cracked ribs, a brain bleed and a broken nose.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Alderman was beaten sometime between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday. Deputies immediately focused on 54-year-old James Mitchell, Jr., a known drug user, for the beating of his live-in grandmother. He apparently left her outside their home on 52nd Avenue S in a "semi-conscious state."

"I don't know if she is going to make it," said Weigand. "I don't know what he takes, but whatever he takes, makes him crazy."

Family said Mitchell has beaten his grandmother before, but never paid the price because she would not testify against him.

Deputies believed he wanted his grandmother's car, but weren't sure why he beat her on the way out. They were keeping watch on areas he might go, and so were neighbors.

"If he can do that to an elderly person, he can do that to kids," said neighbor Cherese Henry. "There are a lot of kids in this neighborhood."

"I guess she loves him," Weigand said, adding Alderman has always wanted to protect him.

As Weigand prepared to spend the night in the hospital, by her mother's side, she had two things to say to her son.

"He needs to give himself up. They are going to get him eventually," she said. "I don't ever want to see him again... no."

Mitchell, 54, is described as a white male, 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, with a medium build and complexion, brown hair, and brown eyes.  He may have a mustache.

The victim's car is described as a beige 2001 Infiniti QX4 sport utility vehicle with a damaged left-front bumper.  The Florida license plate is X89-9TT.

Deputies are asking anyone with information to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS and www.crimestopperstb.com.

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