On Wednesday, Sept. 12, a 73-year-old woman was raped and robbed by Strawberry Fields in Central Park at approximately 11:50 am. As an avid birdwatcher and blogger, the woman was out taking pictures. She then encountered a man masturbating in the trees and took his photo, then reported him to a park ranger. The woman told the New York Times, “Some of the newspapers mentioned that after I saw the guy masturbating, I didn’t report it. I did. I reported it.” Afterward, she continued to photograph the animals in the park, and believed that she had done all she could. However, she was then approached by the same offender, who asked her if she remembered him. He then proceeded to rape her, and stole her knapsack with her photo equipment. He also attempted to steal her watch, but the band broke and it fell. When the attack was over, the victim stated, “He pushed me into the dirt on my face, and he said, ‘You stay there. You count to 100.'”
NYU professor and birdwatcher Eric Ozawa, 34, found the woman on the path he had been walking down who gestured for him to come over. Ozawa told ABCNews.com, “It was a small woman who, as I approached, I saw her face was badly beaten and swollen and then she told me that she had been raped and I took out my phone to call 911.” The woman wanted to speak to the police personally. Ozawa commented, “She was incredibly lucid and together, given the circumstances.” The victim was taken to a hospital and has a fractured eye socket as well as a broken finger. Besides the bruises on her body, both her eyes were bloodshot and bruised.
The suspect, David Albert Mitchell, 42, has a history of violence against women. He was known in Jenkinjones, West Virginia as violent, and suffers from a hereditary split-personality disorder inherited from his mother Sheila Rose. His brother Joseph Mitchell reported to the New York Daily News that he was diagnosed when he was 14 years old, and his condition worsened in his 20’s. According to Gothamist, when David Mitchell was 18, he was charged with sexually assaulting and murdering 86-year-old Annie Parks and was acquitted. A few months later, he was accused of breaking and entry into the home of a 70 year-old woman and sexually assaulting her. He served eight years, yet later kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and added on another eight years.
Mitchell showed up around Strawberry Fields a few months ago and irked the regular drunks and drifters who assemble there regularly. The New York Post stated that he was charged in Manhattan Criminal Court on the 14th with an indictment of rape, a criminal sex act, robbery, and assault. The appointed lawyers agreed to an October 10 date for the indictment to be unsealed before Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers.
The woman plans to return to Central Park: “It’s majestic, it’s very soothing and I’m not going to stop,” she said. “Nobody is going to take that pleasure away from me. This was just one animal.”
[Image via Gothamist]