After the longest 24 days of her life, Danielle Jones woke up from her coma.
The 23-year-old Miami woman was hospitalized on Valentine’s Day after her family said she was brutally attacked by her Craigslist-sourced roommate Byron Mitchell.
Jones needed more than 300 stitches to repair the stab wounds to her face, but the choking and beating she received left her with brain damage and multiple skull fractures. On Thursday, Jones opened her eyes, cracked a chipped-tooth grin and even hugged her younger brother.
“I feel like I can breathe again,” said her mother, Aimee Nikolov.
Mitchell, who’s in jail on a charge of attempted murder, had moved into Jones’ one-bedroom Overtown apartment a week prior to the attack. Her family said she stayed with her uncle all that week.
Jones returned home on Feb. 13 to celebrate her birthday with friends, and by noon the next morning she was carted off in an ambulance.
Terry Ward, a resident in the neighborhood, said he saw Mitchell, 35, pacing outside waiting for the police to arrive.
“It was like he was waiting for a taxi,” Ward said.
Mitchell spoke with police casually, Ward said, before letting himself into the back seat of a squad car and left with police.
“Can’t imagine what a smooth talker that man must be,” he said.
The GoFundMe page set up for Jones’ recovery has raised more than $33,000.
Alex Harris / @harriscalex