EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A man is under arrest after an elderly woman was attacked and raped in her Brooklyn home -- and her Life Alert may have saved her life.
Police say the 88-year-old victim allowed the attacker into her apartment on Vermont Street around 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Selwyn Worrell, 24, lives next to the victim and is charged with rape, sexually motivated assault, and burglary.
Authorities say Worrell knocked on his neighbor's door, which she opened after recognizing him.
He reportedly told her, "I just want to cut through here," which police believe was a ruse to access her home.
Once inside, police say he punched her in the face, grabbed her by the neck and dragged her to the basement. He is accused of tying her hands with an electrical cord and sexually assaulting her.
He then fled the scene but was arrested nearby.
According to next-door neighbor Gregory Damien-Worrell, the suspect is his nephew.
He said the victim has known her assailant for 20 years, almost his entire life.
Police say the victim's Life Alert contacted EMS and may be responsible for saving her. She suffered facial injuries and is expected to survive.
Damien-Worrell said his nephew suffers from mental health issues. He said he isn't making excuses for him and admits the allegations are troubling.
"People with mental disorders need help," he said. "I'm not saying it's right for anything to happen to anybody in any way. He's my nephew. I love my nephew. I beg, I plead. He's my nephew, and I know he needs help."
Damien-Worrell apologized to the victim on behalf of his family, while his nephew undergoes a psychiatric evaluation at Brookdale Hospital.
Authorities say Selwyn Worrell served two years in state prison for attempted burglary in Brooklyn. He was released in February of 2017, and his parole mandated community supervision just ended February 23.