Watch CBS News

Neighborhood On Edge After 3 Women Attacked In Broad Daylight In Inwood Hill Park

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An Upper Manhattan community is on alert after three disturbing incidents involving women happened at Inwood Hill Park on a bright, sunny day.

CBS2's John Dias spoke with locals and a neighbor who witnessed the moments after the heinous crimes were committed.

"Horrible that a guy would do that to a woman," said Inwood resident Joseph Figueroa.

Figueroa said he saw the aftermath of what police are investigating as a possible sex assault and robbery in Inwood Hill Park on Wednesday afternoon.

He watched as the female victim, covered in blood, was transported to the hospital.

"It was pretty bad. She was conscious, barely. She was very disoriented, and had severe lacerations to her scalp," he said.

Police said the woman was hit over the head with a tree branch on a walking trail by an unidentified man. Detectives believe she was sexually assaulted while unconscious.

A good Samaritan found her dog wandering inside the park and went searching for its owner. He spotted the woman staggering out of a wooded area.

Parkgoers said they're worried.

"Maybe the next mayor should really try to focus on these kinds of crimes," one woman said.

"I'm not going to go there for a while," another person said.

"I have daughters that are walking around. I don't want to freak them out and be like 'Don't go outside,' but I don't know how to handle that," said Inwood resident Marcy Pritchard.

"It's terrible. I mean, there is no words for that because it shouldn't have happened, things like that," Jorge Mosquera said.

It wasn't the only attack Wednesday.

Police say within an hour prior, two other women were threatened with sexual assault in separate incidents. One was punched in the face, and robbed.

Police believe it was the same man, CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported.

"To do it within that short period of time, he was on a mission. He was looking to hurt someone, seriously," said retired police officer Bob Brown.

Brown is now an attorney. He said if you're ever in that situation, don't remain quiet.

"Scream, wave your arms, make as much possible noise as you can," Brown said. "You gotta hope that someone is gonna see something, call 911."

The community may be worried, but is not giving up hope that it's a good neighborhood to live in.

"I don't think it's right for someone, a nefarious person, to scare people going into the park. It's our park," said Jack Houghteling.

On Thursday afternoon, Inwood Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez called on the city to add more park enforcement patrols and more police.

"It is unfortunate that those women and many others that walk in this community don't feel safe," Rodriguez said.

Police spent Thursday sifting through surveillance footage around the park to get a better description of the suspect.

According to city records, rape is up almost 3% compared to last year, but robberies remain about the same.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

CBS2's Andrea Grymes contributed to this report.

UPDATE: Bronx Man Arrested For String Of Disturbing Sex Crimes In Inwood

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.