Exclusive: Tourist attacked, slashed

June 17, 2008 9:11:46 PM PDT
A woman visiting New York City from Italy was attacked while she was walking on the Upper East Side. It appears to have been a random attack, and the woman fought back. The attack happened at East 83rd Street and Lexington Avenue.

Carolina Ottone says she absolutely loves New York, the people and the energy. But Monday night, as she headed to meet friends before going on to a party, she found herself fighting for her life.

The 19-year-old victim went back to the scene of the crime on Tuesday, where she says the vicious, knife-wielding attacker threatened her life at the corner.

Nearby security cameras captured the suspect as he stalked his victim, pulled a knife and prepared to pounce out of the cameras' range.

This guy grabbed me from behind, and he put his knife here," she said, motioning to her throat.

That's when Carolina says she grabbed the sharp blade at her neck and pushed her attacker away. He ran off. She severed a nerve and tendons in two fingers on her left hand.

"I couldn't even think about what happened to me, and I couldn't even think and talk from my pain," she said. "I just wanted to go to the hospital."

A doorman at a building across the street heard her screams and called police. It took doctors at Lenox Hill Hospital nearly three hours to repair the damage.

Carolina is visiting from Italy and staying with friends on the Upper East Side. And though she insists the attack hasn't affected her love for New York, she admits it has taught her to be more cautious and acknowledge that not everyone is a friend.

"I really wish that they can find this guy," she said.

Doctors say Carolina may get feeling back in her fingers in three to four months. As for the police investigation, the NYPD says this is an open case. As of yet, they've not been able to complete a sketch of the suspect.


STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Sandra Bookman