For nearly nine months after he was brutally beaten on the front porch of his home in Niagara Falls, Cameron M. Weingartner lay unresponsive in a hospital bed at Erie County Medical Center.
Someone from the family made sure to be by his side every day at Erie County Medical Center.
On Friday, after developing complications from the traumatic injuries to his brain, he died at the hospital. He was 44.
"It's been extremely difficult," said his sister, Jodi Bass. "He was one of the nicest, funniest, smartest people you could ever meet," she said.
Weingartner had four children. The youngest is 6. He was a supervisor at Precious Plate, an electroplating service in Niagara Falls.
Weingartner was assaulted on Aug. 30 in a dispute with a man he was acquainted on the porch of his home on 69th Street and Edison Avenue. He was airlifted to ECMC where he'd been hospitalized ever since.
The suspected assailant, Donald Sinclair Jr., turned himself into police and was charged with second-degree assault. The case remains open.
"We're aware that he passed away," said Niagara Falls Det. Lt. John Conti. "Right now, it's in the hands of the district attorney's office."
Bass, a registered nurse, was out of town when the assault occurred, she said. She recalled asking a nurse at ECMC to read her the results of her brother's CT scan. "I was very surprised he survived the night and not just myself. Even the physicians were."
Weingartner never really regained consciousness. "There was a point where he occasionally would open up his eyes," Bass said. "But for the most part he's had no response since his injuries."
The family made sure there was someone with him every day at the hospital. For the past month, as his condition deteriorated, his mother, Deborah Johnson, refused to leave the hospital at all.
"My mother took a leave of absence from work and she slept at the hospital," Bass said. "We brought her food and clothes. She didn't even leave to go and shower."
The long vigil has been especially difficult for Weingartner's mother, Bass said. "This is the second child she has buried," she said. Weingartner's brother, Aram Bass, was killed in action in the Iraq War in 2005.
The ordeal has been difficult for his children too, she said.
She expressed gratitude to the staff at ECMC for caring for Weingartner and for the compassion they showed the family. In Weignartner's death notice, his family offered special thanks for the staff at ECMC's traumatic intensive care unit, 7th floor medical/surgical unit, 8th floor north and 6th floor zone 2 "for the kind and compassionate care given to Cameron during his time of need."
Now, Bass said, what they want is justice.
"I want justice for my brother," she said.
Weingartner is survived by his mother, Deborah Johnson; daughters, Ashley E. Hoover, Kristyn M. Wasikowski and Dana C.; son, Cameron J.; granddaughter, Aleenah R. Hoover Banks; sister, Jodi Bass; grandmother, Susanne H. Case; and special friend, Christal Pietricone.
A funeral for Weingartner will be held Thursday in St. John de LaSalle Church, 8477 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls. Visitation will begin at 4 p.m., followed by a Rite of Christian Burial at 5 p.m.