Suspect in sex assault, murder of 92-year-old Queens woman in US illegally

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Suspect in sex assault, murder of 92-year-old in country illegally
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Candace McCowan has details on the man who assaulted and murdered a 92-year-old woman

RICHMOND HILL, Queens (WABC) -- The homeless man charged in the murder and sexual assault of a 92-year-old woman in Queens is apparently in the country illegally, officials say.

Authorities say 21-year-old Reeaz Khan, who is accused of assaulting and killing Maria Fuertes last week in Richmond Hill, is a Guyanese national now being held on Rikers Island.

Khan was indicted by a jury Wednesday on seven charges. Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz released the following statement:

"A grand jury has taken action indicting this defendant to hold him accountable for the horrible attack of an elderly woman, who was beloved in her neighborhood. The defendant is accused of pouncing on the 92-year-old woman from behind, throwing her to the ground and then sexually assaulting her before he ran from the scene. The victim was discovered hours later barely conscious, incoherent and naked from the waist down. The defendant has been apprehended and will be prosecuted for his alleged heinous actions."

Officials say that back in November, Khan was released from custody after attacking and stabbing his father with a broken coffee cup.

But Khan was not turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement at that time because of New York City's sanctuary policy, which only allows offenders to be turned over after they've been convicted of a violent crime.

Now, immigration officials have moved to detain him.

"It is made clear that New York City's stance against honoring detainers is dangerously flawed," said Thomas Decker, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations New York. "It was a deadly choice to release a man on an active ICE detainer back onto the streets after his first arrest included assault and weapon charges, and he now faces new charges, including murder."

Officials say they requested he be detained for deportation after his November arrest, but the city let him go.

ICE released a copy of the detainer it faxed to the NYPD after Kahn's arrest.

The NYPD says they never received the retainer request.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the criticism saying, "If Mr. Khan is convicted, the city will cooperate with federal officials in accordance with local law. It is shameful that the Trump Administration is politicizing this tragedy."

ICE is accusing New York City politicians of caring more about criminals who are in the country illegally than the citizens they are elected to serve and protect.

"It is the height of hypocrisy for NYC to blame ICE for this tragic crime," said Matthew Albence, Acting Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "The mayor & police chief have continually celebrated that they don't honor ICE detainers, & to deflect the criticism for this completely preventable murder is incredibly disingenuous & shameful. ICE could've wallpapered the precinct with detainers & NYPD would still not have honored them."


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