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Fund set up for downtown Miami beating victim as family looks at long road ahead

The family of Rene Betancourt, the 22-year-old victim of a downtown beating last week, will have an open Mass on Wednesday to pray for his recovery.

The service will take place at noon at St. Jude Catholic Church at 1501 Brickell Ave. The young man is at Jackson Memorial Hospital recovering from head trauma and other injuries. Jackson Memorial Foundation is setting up a fund to pay for hospitalization costs because he does not have health insurance.

The beating left Betancourt with numerous skull fractures and brain bruising that doctors at Jackson said could present potential difficulties. Meanwhile, police are still investigating the bizarre incident that could have involved more than one suspect.

Parents of the skateboarder said he had gone out the night before to find a group of people to practice the sport with, but never came home. Sometime between 11 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., Betancourt was assaulted and stricken at the head, enough to crack the front and side of his skull and bruising the brain on the opposite side of the impact.

Surgeons performed emergency procedures to remove a blood clot that was gaining pressure because of the head injuries he sustained. Another brain surgery was done to place a titanium plate on his skull to help heal the fractures. Doctors are keeping watch while the swelling and bruising decreases.