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Tonawanda victim of 'despicable' August assault has died

The victim of an August attack, described by City of Tonawanda police as "unprovoked and despicable," has died.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office said it learned Friday morning of the death of Michael Zuch, 59, who was assaulted before 2 a.m. Aug. 4 near Grove Place and Grove Street.

Authorities say Avery D. Hunter, 24, of Buffalo, twice confronted Zuch before punching him in the face, causing a broken jaw, concussion and brain bleed. Zuch – who had Huntington's disease, a fatal genetic disorder that causes the brain's nerve cells to break down – was known to officers for frequent walks near Gateway Park.

Hunter was found standing over the unconscious Zuch and charged with second-degree assault. Zuch spent several weeks at Erie County Medical Center before his transfer to a rehabilitation center, authorities said.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death. Prosecutors said the case was scheduled to go before a grand jury Friday but, with Zuch's death, they plan to further investigate.

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