Police believe same assault suspect targeted 3 women in just over an hour at NYC park

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Thursday, July 22, 2021
Police believe same assault suspect targeted 3 women at NYC park
Naveen Dhaliwal has more on the disturbing series of attacks at the Manhattan park.

INWOOD, Manhattan (WABC) -- Authorities believe the same suspect is behind three incidents in which women were threatened or attacked within just over an hour at a park in Upper Manhattan, and now, there are calls for increased security.

The three incidents happened at Inwood Hill Park, the second biggest park in Manhattan, between 10:50 a.m. and 11:57 a.m. Wednesday.

In the last incident, a woman walking her dog was attacked near Dyckman Street and Payson Avenue.

Police sources say the 44-year-old victim was approached by a male at 11:57 a.m.

He hit her on the head with a branch, causing her to lose consciousness.

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He then tried to remove the victim's pants, but a good Samaritan reportedly saw the dog without an owner and approach the pet, seeing the victim coming out of the wooded area.

The victim was in bad shape and told the good Samaritan she may have been sexually assaulted.

She was taken to Harlem Hospital with a laceration to her forehead. Police sources confirmed to Eyewitness News they are investigating her case as a possible sex assault.

Authorities say two other women were attacked in the park a short time earlier.

-At 10:50 a.m., a 34-year-old woman was walking when she was approached by a man who told her he wanted to have sex with her, punched her, and took her iPhone, Apple watch and earbuds.

-At 11:30 a.m., a 40-year-old woman was walking her dog when a suspect demanded her property, said he wanted to commit a sex act, and then threatened to kill her dog before taking off when she screamed.

The assailant is described as a Hispanic man with a slim build and short hair, approximately 5-foot-11, last seen wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and a disposable face mask.

It is the same park where 21-year-old Juilliard student Sarah Fox was found murdered back in 2004.

She left to go for a run on May 19 and was found strangled in the park without clothes and her CD player nearby six days later. Her murder remains unsolved.

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City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez held a press conference Thursday afternoon to call on City Hall to add additional resources for all Northern Manhattan parks to improve their safety after the series of attacks.

He urged the city to add an additional 25 Parks Enforcement Patrol officers and increase number of NYPD mounted and scooter units patrolling Fort Washington Park, Inwood Hill Park, For Tryon Park, and Highbridge Park.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the attacks outrageous and completely unacceptable:

No arrests have been made, and the investigation is active and ongoing.

Anyone with information is urged to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).


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