Attackers who beat homeless man thought he was a sex offender, police say. He wasn’t

Detectives were seeking help in their search for one of two suspects accused of “viciously” beating a homeless man unconscious in an ”unprovoked attack” at a Modesto park, because the attackers believed the victim was a registered sex offender. The victim later died from his injuries.

Jace Decker, 63, of Modesto was critically injured in the Garrison Park attack. He went into a coma and never regained consciousness. The Modesto Police Department on Sunday afternoon announced in a news release that Decker had died from his injuries.

Matthew Arguello, 21, was the first of the two suspects who was identified in the case. Arguello was arrested several days after the attack.

Detectives were looking for Ruben Rosales, 25, of Modesto. They believe someone was helping Rosales avoid capture. The detectives warned that that anyone determined to be helping Rosales hide from authorities will be prosecuted.

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Ruben Rosales Modesto Police Department

The attack occurred Aug. 10 at the park along Carver Road, just north of Orangeburg Avenue. Decker was a transient man and known to frequent Garrison Park.

Police officials said Arguello and Rosales confronted Decker and attacked him “without warning.” They said Decker pleaded with his attackers to stop, just before he loss consciousness.

Arguello and Rosales allegedly believed Decker was a registered sex offender, but police say he wasn’t. Arguello and Rosales bludgeoned Decker without using any weapons, according to police.

Decker, who had head injuries, initially told police officers not to call an ambulance. Modesto police spokeswoman have said Decker was coherent and refused medical examination.

The officers took a report of the assault and left the park. The officers returned to the park about an hour later after they received a report Decker was unconscious. Decker was then taken to a Modesto hospital.

Arguello was arrested Aug. 16, when a vehicle he was a passenger was pulled over along Sisk Road between Standiford and Briggsmore avenues in north Modesto.

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Matthew Arguello

On Monday, Arguello remained at the Stanislaus County Jail. Prosecutors have charged him with attempted murder. He’s scheduled to return to Stanislaus Superior Court Thursday for a pretrial hearing.

Police officials said Arguello and Rosales are known criminal street gang members, and Rosales should be considered dangerous fugitive. This was an unprovoked attack

Police officials asked anyone with information about this investigation or Rosales whereabouts to call Detective Lawrence at (209) 572-9642. Tipsters also can call Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636. Tipsters can email through the Crime Stoppers website, Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

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Rosalio Ahumada writes news stories about criminal court cases in Stanislaus County for The Modesto Bee, issues related to immigration and immigrant communities and breaking news related to crime and public safety. From time to time, he covers the Modesto City Council meetings. He has worked as a news reporter in the Northern San Joaquin Valley since 2004.