This happened around 3:30 p.m. on June 23 near City Island and Shore Roads in Pelham Bay Park, where the victim, Rebecca Young, 31, was walking.
âI felt someone running behind me,â she said. “I just felt a presence.”
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Police said the man ran 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 out of the way.
âI turned to the left to get out of her way,â she said. “I just feel this really big hand grabbing my hand and my nose.”
He then pinned her face, climbed on top of her, and began to twist her neck.
âWe both tumbled down and I tried to run away, but he pins me to the ground,â she said. “And he’s on my back, and I’m screaming my head.”
She says she pretended to faint but noticed a cyclist in the distance, and with the well-trained lungs of an opera singer – she’s a soprano – she screamed again.
âI feel him look up a bit, and I start screaming again and it’s just enough and I stirred and pushed him,â she said. “And he just ran to the other end of the wood.”
The cyclist remained at the scene and assisted police, while paramedics attended to Young’s cuts and scrapes.
âI want them to find it so that it doesn’t happen again,â she said. “He definitely knew the area and certainly knew what he was doing. It was really terrifying.”
Police have released a sketch of the man they are looking for.
They say the suspect is around 5ft 5in with a slim build and a well-groomed appearance. He was wearing white surgical gloves, a slim fit gray T-shirt, cargo pants, and sneakers.
Young believes that if the abuser had been successful, she would have been sexually assaulted. She says she won’t be returning to the park anytime soon and hopes other women will avoid the area until her attacker is caught.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD 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 @ NYPD Tips.
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