Police focusing on woman in fan beating

LOS ANGELES -- Police investigating the brutal Opening Day beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium said Tuesday that they have shifted their focus to identifying the woman who helped the two assailants escape after the attack.

Detective PJ Morris, the lead investigator in the case, said that new information has led them to believe the woman was wearing an Andre Ethier jersey on the night of the attack. Witnesses have described her as a 5-foot-2 or 5-foot-3 Latina in her 20s with brown or dyed hair in a ponytail.

Morris is leading a group of 17 detectives investigating the case. The department has received more than 500 tips from the public but no arrests have been made nearly seven weeks after the brutal attack.

Meanwhile, the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the two suspects is now $200,000 after the Dodgers added $100,000 to the total Tuesday.

"We're eating, sleeping and breathing this case," Morris said. "It is extremely important. The Stow family deserves this. Los Angeles and the Dodgers family deserves this. We can't let an act like this go unsolved."

Morris said that investigators have traveled as far north as San Francisco and as far south as San Diego to pursue leads.

"We've gone all over," he said. "There are no limits. It's more than citywide, it's statewide. This is very important.

"I'm not surprised it has gone [seven weeks]. When you're looking for a needle, you've got to go through all the straw. But we're working on a lot of good stuff, a lot of promising stuff."

Stow, a 42-year-old father of two from Santa Cruz, has been in a coma since the brutal attack. He has a fractured skull and damage to both frontal lobes of his brain.

But his condition has stabilized enough in recent days that doctors at County USC Medical Center, where he had been receiving treatment since the attack, felt it was safe to transfer him Monday to San Francisco General Hospital, closer to his home.

"Bryan was where he needed to be. He got great care at USC. They saved his life. But now it's just so nice to have him back, closer to home," Stow's cousin, John Stow, told ESPNLosAngeles.com by phone on Monday night.

In the wake of the attack, the Dodgers committed to fund an increased police presence at Dodger Stadium to help fans feel safer.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that the increased police presence has "absolutely worked."

The Dodgers will host the Giants in a two-game series Wednesday and Thursday, the first series between the teams at Dodger Stadium since the attack.

Beck said that the police presence will likely be elevated during the Giants series as the department and the team try to restore faith that Dodger Stadium is a place where "families can go and watch a game without worrying about an assault."

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said the feedback from fans to the increased police presence has been overwhelmingly positive.

"The feedback we've received from our fans is that they've noticed the difference and appreciated the effort," Rawitch said.

Rawitch could not comment on the financial commitment the Dodgers have made to the extra security force, except to reiterate that "it's significant."

During Wednesday and Thursday's games, the Dodgers once again will collect donations to benefit the Bryan Stow Fund.

They will also distribute pamphlets with police sketches and information on the suspects at the games.

Nearly 300 billboards with those police sketches and information on how to contact investigators with information on the case were donated by Lamar Advertising Co. last week.

Morris said that the sustained public attention on the case has enormously aided the investigation.

"It's not dying," he said of the investigation. "Because of all the attention on this case, people are interested. The leads get stronger, not weaker."

Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com.