Answers sought after former football star beaten, left for dead

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- A mother is pleading for answers after her only child and former college football player was beaten and left for dead on the street.

Bellevue police have not released many details, only that they are retracing J.D. Aylward's activities the night he was beaten. He was found without a wallet, but he did have his phone on him. Detectives have started calling the last numbers he dialed.

Aylward excelled at so many football positions during his years at Sammamish High School that recruits considered him a triple threat. He dons a ring from his Fiesta Bowl win at Boise State. But the vibrant and lean 5-foot-11 wide receiver from Bellevue now lies lifeless in intensive care.

"He's in bad shape," said his mother Colleen Aylward.

A 911 call at 4 a.m. Sunday alerted police to a battered body on 140th Street in Bellevue.

"And he looked like a dead man, blood out of his head, big pool of blood," said Colleen Aylward, who has seen police photos of the scene. "Hard to look at, but enough to make me want to kill somebody."

On the day of the beating, J.D. Aylward exchanged text messages with his best friend and roommate Thomas Bright throughout the day, first from a wedding then later from Munchbar in Bellevue.

"The last received text message (was) at 2:15 that night, saying he was out, having fun. I never responded; I was asleep. I wish I did," Bright said.

These text messages have relatives and detectives trying to piece together who J.D. Aylward was with and where they went before the beating that left him critically injured.

"(Doctors) cut his scalp, pulled the skin back and sawed the scalp off. (They) stapled his skin back on whole rows of staples," said Colleen Aylward. "(Doctors) put his skull in the freezer to save for later, because his brain is swelling so much."

Every day more than two dozen visitors crowd the hospital halls at Harborview Medical Center.

"Over and over, and over, people say, 'Not J.D. No one doesn't like J.D.," said Colleen Aylward.

The mother knows her son will never be the same. Now she and her husband want to know who did this to him and why.

"We want justice," Bright said. "We want questions answered. He deserves it. We deserve it. His mom deserves it."

Colleen Aylward says she has no tears left, but she is also overwhelmed. Following another briefing with doctors on Thursday morning, she fainted, landing in the emergency room herself.