Wednesday, September 12, 2012

73-Year-Old Raped & Mugged In Central Park

Police investigate the rape & mugging of a 73-year-old woman in Central Park late this morning in Strawberry Fields. Yesterday a 56-year-old woman was raped and pushed over a railing and fell 20 feet from the second story of Pier 15 in lower Manhattan. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on Image to enlarge.


A 73-year-old birdwatcher says she was raped Wednesday in Central Park, possibly by a man angered because she photographed him exposing himself there, according to WBNC News.

The woman told investigators the man asked, "Do you remember me?" before attacking her about 11 a.m. near the park's tranquil Strawberry Fields that serves as a memorial to John Lennon, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a news conference.

Police are looking for this man in the Central Park rape of a 74-year-old woman. (credit NYPD)

Police are looking for this man in the Central Park rape and mugging of a 73-year-old woman late this morning in Central Park. tThe image was taken from a NYPD Argus surveillance camera on W. 72nd Street. (Credit: NYPD)

The woman, who regularly visits the park to watch birds, said she thinks the assailant was the same man she photographed masturbating about a week ago in another, more isolated part of the park, police said. She said he demanded she delete the image before they went their separate ways. Police said that initial encounter wasn't reported.

Wednesday, investigators spoke to Eric Ozawa, a college professor and birdwatcher who had called 911, while other officers and detectives swarmed the scene in search of the suspect.

Ozawa, 34, told reporters he was in the park about 11:30 a.m. when he noticed a pair of legs sticking out along the path but thought it was somebody sleeping. As Ozawa got closer, he realized it was a woman lying face down. Her face was badly swollen, she had a black eye and was covered in mulch, he said.

Still, she appeared "self-possessed and lucid," he said.

The woman told Ozawa she had been mugged and raped, he said. He immediately called the police.

"It's shocking that it could happen in the park in broad daylight," he said. "That someone could rape somebody in her 70s."

Police blocked off much of the area near West 72nd Street and Central Park West as they hunted for a suspect described as a man in his 40s.

Read/View More:

WNBC - September 12, 2012

WABC - September 12, 2012 - By Jeff Pegues
New York Post - September 12, 2012 - By Jessica Simeone and Kevin Fasick

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