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Subway Push Suspect Anthonia Egegbara Suffers From Mental Illness And Needs Help, Family Tells CBS2

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The woman police say pushed a subway rider into an oncoming train earlier this week in Times Square faced a judge Wednesday.

The victim is still recovering from her injuries, but the suspect's family said she suffers from mental health problems and needs help, too.

Surveillance video showed the woman police identified as 29-year-old Anthonia Egegbara shove Lenny Javier, 42, of New Jersey, into a train as it approached the station Monday. The impact was so strong, Javier's shoe came flying off.

Egegbara was arrested the next day and charged with attempted murder.

Anthonia Egegbara
The woman police say pushed a subway rider into an oncoming train earlier this week in Times Square faced a judge Wednesday. (Credit: Family handout)

"We all cried when we saw that video. The whole family is distressed and upset about this," her mother, Dedria Gregg, told CBS2's Nick Caloway. "I feel so sorry for the woman that got pushed in the subway. I am so sorry."

Egegbara's family said she has long suffered from mental illness and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, among other disorders, adding she has been hospitalized more than 50 times since she was a teenager.

They said she is sweet when she takes her medication, but since she is an adult, they can't force her to take her prescriptions. As a result, they said she slipped through the cracks, spending years in homeless shelters and getting into trouble.

"She has been mental for a while, and the whole family has been struggling and fighting to get her help," Gregg said. "It's so hard to have someone in your family that suffers from mental illness. Everybody's going through it right now. The whole family is distraught."

"My sister has been failed by the system that's supposed to help her," Nancy Egegbara added.

Nancy Egegbara said her sister needs real treatment, something she can't get in a jail cell.

"She really needs an institution, a place that can keep her safe and away from violence or violent behaviors," she said. "I'm not condoning. What she did was wrong, but what she did stems from her mental illness."

Egegbara's family said she should have had a psychological evaluation before her court appearance Wednesday, but for some reason her defense attorney did not request one. The evaluation could still be requested at a later date.

Her bail was set at $100,000.

As for Javier, she suffered broken bones in her face.

"I never thought it would happen to me," she told CBS2's John Dias in an exclusive interview before the arrest. "Someone needs to take responsibility for this, because it can't be happening."

CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

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