Photo Courtesy of Google
Fuertes was attacked as she walked along 127th Avenue searching for redeemable bottles and cans.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A Richmond Hill man has been charged in what borough District Attorney Melinda Katz characterized as the “heinous” attack of a 92-year-old Queens woman who was walking near her home in the early morning hours of Jan. 6, when the perpetrator allegedly threw her to the ground, sexually assaulted her, and sprinted from the scene.
Reeaz Khan, 21, was arraigned on Friday on two counts each of second-degree murder and first-degree sexual abuse. He was remanded into Department of Correction custody and ordered to appear in court on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
According to the charges, on Monday, Jan. 6, Khan was observed on video surveillance following the victim, Maria Fuertes, as she walked along 127th Avenue searching for redeemable bottles and cans. Khan then allegedly knocked the 92-year-old woman to the ground near parked cars, where he is alleged to have sexually assaulted her on the sidewalk. Khan is then observed on video roughly five minutes later running northbound on 127th Street.
Fuertes was found around 2:15 a.m. by a passerby who hurriedly called 911.
Fuertes was rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where she succumbed to her injuries at 2:35 a.m.
“Miss Fuertes was a fixture in the neighborhood,” said Dep. Chief Joseph Payne, commanding officer, Queens South detectives. “She was known on Liberty Avenue; she took strolls in the evening quite often.”
According to a New York Daily News report, after investigators posted a clip of the incident on social media platforms, Khan’s own brother called cops and identified his sibling as the perpetrator.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their assistance with this investigation,” Payne added. “In partnership with the NYPD, the community came forward with numerous tips and multiple sources of information that helped us with this case.”
If convicted, Khan faces 25 years to life in prison.
“This was senseless, brutal act of violence. The victim was found with her clothes pulled above her waist and near death,” Katz said. “The defendant has been apprehended and now faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life locked behind bars.”
For more on this story, including Reeaz Khan’s immigration status, see the Editorial on Page 6.