BELLEVUE, Wash. -- J.D. Aylward lies in a Seattle hospital surrounded by friends and family who say they’re encouraged by his progress but upset police appear no closer to finding out who beat him so badly he nearly died.
"We're frustrated there isn't some lead, some progress, maybe there is, but they’re not telling us, it’s frustrating,” said his mother, Colleen Aylward.
J.D. Aylward was strong and healthy until 10 days ago. The former star football player at Sammamish High School and Boise State University had been living and working in Bellevue.
"We're worried about his vision,” said his mother. “He's had seizures. We’re worried about continuing seizures, we’re worried about speech, we’re worried about all of the therapies that he has to go through to even get to be able to do normal body functions…We don’t know if it will ever be the same J.D. We just don’t know.”
Colleen said her son is confused about how he ended up in the hospital with a broken eye socket and a piece of his skull removed because of a swollen brain. After over a week in the Intensive Care Unit, he has improved enough to be moved to acute care.
"He's talking a little now and asking ‘Why? Why did this happen to me and why can’t I go to a place I know I love, like, why can’t I go home?’” Colleen said.
That's the question haunting his friends and family too. Aylward had gone to the Munch Bar, a club in Bellevue Square, on Saturday, September 22. His friends left before he did, but he continued texting and calling them until 2:20 a.m.
Then just before 4 a.m. Sunday, a taxi driver who lives in a quiet Bellevue cul de sac was coming home and saw what looked like a body lying in the road.
It was J.D. in a pool of blood, near death. While the 24-year-old battles to regain his memory and to eat without a feeding tube, his mother has waited for word from police that they've solved the case.
“We haven’t heard anyone come forward. We’ve put the word out. They haven’t called us. We don’t know if they’re calling police,” Colleen said.
Colleen said she isn't asking her son about the night he was beaten. Because of his severe brain injury, she's been advised to wait.
Meantime, every day dozens of friends come to visit J.D., bringing love and hope. Shelby John flew in from San Francisco to be at his bedside.
“There are moments that we’re in there with him that you get a little glimpse of his personality. He says something witty or funny and it's nice to be able to hang on to those moments and be able to think that hopefully down the road we'll get his full, 100%, J.D. fun loving personality back,” John said.
Friend Malia Harada has been a frequent visitor too.
“We just want to get J.D. back to the point that we all know him as. This will definitely affect him somewhat, but we want him to know that we won’t let him forget the person who he was and who he will be in the future,” Harada said.
Bellevue police said they are still investigating the case and are retracing J.D. Aylward’s activities prior to him being found in the street. His family is pleading with anyone who has information about that night to contact police.