Woman's screams may have saved her life after she was tackled, strangled inside Pelham Bay Park

PELHAM BAY PARK, the Bronx (WABC) -- A woman's screams may have saved her life after she was tackled and strangled by a man in the Bronx before a bicyclist heard her yelling and intervened.

It happened around 3:30 p.m. on June 23 near City Island and Shore roads in Pelham Bay Park, where the victim, 31-year-old Rebecca Young, was walking.

"I felt someone running behind me," she said. "I just felt a presence."

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According to police, the man ran up behind her, covered her nose and mouth, and dragged her into a wooded area. At first, she thought he wanted to steal her phone -- until he forced her off the path.

"I turned to the left to get out of his way," she said. "I just feel this very large hand grasp my hand and my nose."

He then pinned her face down, got on top of her, and began twisting her neck.

"We both tumbled and I tried to get away, but he pins me down," she said. "And he's on my back, and I'm screaming my head off."

She says she pretended to pass out but noticed a bicyclist in the distance, and with the well trained lungs of an opera singer -- she's a soprano -- she screamed again.

"I feel him look up a little bit, and I start screaming again and it's just enough and I wiggled out and shoved him," she said. "And he just darted to the other end of the woods."

The bicyclist stayed on the scene and helped police, while paramedics tended to Young's cuts and scratches.

"I want them to find him so this doesn't happen again," she said. "He definitely knew the area and definitely knew what he was doing. It was really terrifying."

Police released a sketch of the man for whom they are searching.


They say the suspect is approximately 5-foot-5 with a thin build and a well-groomed appearance. He was wearing white surgical gloves, a gray fitted T-shirt, cargo pants, and sneakers.

Young believes if the attacker had his way, she would have been sexually assaulted. She's says she won't come back to the park anytime soon and hopes other women avoid the area until her attacker is caught.

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) or submit a tip on the Crime Stoppers website or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

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