Jimmy Vielkind, Lisa L. Colangelo and Melissa Grace, New York Daily News, April 16, 2007
Tied up and left to die in a burning apartment, a Columbia student used the blaze set by her sadistic rapist to free herself, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said yesterday.
The 23-year-old woman, identified by sources as a student at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, endured 19 hours of rape and torture at the hands of a sick creep in her Hamilton Heights apartment Friday night.
In what Kelly called a “particularly vicious” assault, the fiend tied his victim to a bed, cut her, raped her, burned her with scalding water and chemicalsand then set the woman’s futon on fire to cover up the crime, police said.
He was so brutal he slit her eyelids, Kelly said.
The student used the flames to free herself and fled her fifth-floor apartment with her hands still bound to each other to get help from a neighbor, officials said.
One man said he saw the victim in the basement of the building shortly after she escaped.
“She just kept saying, ‘I’ve been raped,’” said Ronald Ward, 19, who spotted the fire and ran downstairs for help, where he found the building’s superintendent, Carl Peroune, trying to soothe the woman as they waited for an ambulance.
Police were hunting for the attacker, described as a bald, 6-foot-1, 180-pound black man in his 30s with a goatee and a scar on his abdomen.