Thursday, a man clings to life by the thinnest of threads at the University of Virginia Medical Center after a brutal beating. A police sergeant says it is one of the worst beatings he has ever seen, but police do not know how Robert Kartheiser became a victim or more importantly, who is responsible for putting him at death's door.

It was just behind a bus stop on Water Street where Charlottesville police say Kartheiser, a homeless man, was attacked, savagely beaten and left for dead.

"He had a number of cracked ribs, lung injuries, spleen injuries, swelling to the brain," explained Charlottesville Police Department Lt. Gary Pleasants.

The 55-year-old Kartheiser was found around 8:00 Saturday morning between the Federal Courthouse and the Omni Hotel, just feet from the Downtown Mall. Police believe the attacked happened overnight because officers spotted Kartheiser just fine around midnight.

"So about an eight hour period, we don't know where he was or what happened to him other than sometime in there this assault occurred," said Pleasants. "But we have no idea who may be responsible for this."

Police have checked surveillance video from around the crime scene, but those tapes have provided no new clues.

"We did check the cameras at the federal building and they were not pointed in the right direction for us, so there was no video for us," Pleasants said.

They are also warning other homeless people to be on guard; police are not sure if the attack on Kartheiser was an isolated incident. Police say another homeless man was attacked recently by a group of teens, but since they do not know what led up to the attack on Kartheiser, they cannot make a link.

If you have information, call CrimeStoppers at 434-977-4000.

Reported by Henry Graff
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Charlottesville Police Department Press Release from August 17:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA - At approximately 08:00 am on Saturday, August 14th, the Emergency Communications Center received a report concerning a citizen who needed medical attention in the area of 250 West Main St.  Charlottesville Police arrived at the scene and observed a white male who appeared to be the victim of an assault. 

The victim was transported to the University Virginia Medical Center and it was determined that there were internal injuries and that the assault was quite severe.  The victim is currently unconscious and is listed in critical condition with life threatening injuries.

The victim was identified as Robert Kartheiser with no known address.   Mr. Kartheiser was seen by police officers at the west end of the downtown mall around midnight Friday night and was not injured, leading investigators to believe the assault occurred sometime between then and when he was found Saturday morning.

Police are looking for anyone who may have seen Mr. Kartheiser after midnight Friday or may have information regarding this assault.    

This investigation continues and Charlottesville Police are asking that anyone having information related to this case call Crimestoppers at 977-4000.