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Park Point home invasion victim dies

The victim of a home invasion assault died Saturday morning at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center.

According to Duluth police, Larry Watczak, 70, died at 6:40 a.m. after spending 10 days in the hospital due to injuries from the assault that occurred at his Park Point home Jan. 2.

Darrel Darryl Mayhew, 30, was arraigned Wednesday in State District Court on first-degree assault, aggravated first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary charges in the Jan. 2  incident. Mayhew remains in St. Louis County jail with bail set at $750,000.

A criminal complaint alleges that Mayhew entered Watczak’s residence on the 800 block of South Lake Avenue and struck him over the head with an unknown blunt object. Mayhew allegedly took the victim’s cellphone, a tablet computer and roughly $2 in cash before leaving.

Officers were called to Watczak’s residence around 6 p.m. and made contact with the victim, who was bloodied and holding a towel over his head. Watczak stated that two unknown men had entered the residence through his unlocked front door. However, investigators have found evidence indicating only one intruder in the home.

He reported that he had been struck with some object and a blanket was thrown over his head. Watczak said a male demanded money, so he produced the change from his pocket. The suspect also took his phone and tablet.

Watczak was rushed to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center due to the severity of his injuries. He had undergone emergency surgery after having a seizure upon arrival at the hospital — he did not regain consciousness afterward — and remained in a coma as of Thursday.

According to a news release, Duluth police will continue working with the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office to consider amending the charges now that Watczak had died. Exact cause of death will be released after an autopsy is done by the medical examiner, police said.

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