Queens park rape: Person of interest in custody after being assaulted, sources say

Queens park rapist suspect
The NYPD released these images of the alleged Queens park rapist who attacked a 13-year-old girl on June 13, 2024.
Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police have a person of interest in custody whom they believe is the Queens park rape suspect who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl last week in a heinous attack that shocked the city.

The development occurred hours after NYPD released security camera footage showing “crystal clear” images of the suspect riding a bike on a nearby street. Up until this point, the NYPD had only a composite sketch of the perpetrator.

Sources familiar with the investigation said the person of interest, a migrant from Ecuador who had been in the U.S. since 2021, resided at a men’s shelter in the vicinity of 108th and Waldron Streets in Corona.

At around 1 a.m. Tuesday, the person of interest was physically assaulted by local residents who recognized him from the images police released, the sources said.

Officers responded and took the person of interest into custody. After bringing him to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries, he was brought in for questioning regarding the rape case. Charges against the person of interest are pending the results of the ongoing investigation.

Cops across the city had been engaged in an extensive manhunt for the suspect since the aftermath of the assault, which occurred at about 3 p.m. on June 13 inside Kissena Corridor Park, near the corner of Kalmia Avenue and Colden Street in Flushing.

NYPD officer hangs up poster of Queens park rapist case
An NYPD officer hangs up a poster on the Queens park rape case on June 14, 2024.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Law enforcement officials said the rapist approached the 13-year-old girl as she played on a field with her 13-year-old male friend, and then ordered them in Spanish to follow him into the nearby wooded area. 

After the children refused, cops said, the perpetrator displayed a large knife and demanded in English that they follow him into the wooded area. The youngsters complied, leading to a horrific ordeal.

“The children were forced at knifepoint to follow him into a secluded area of the park, where he tied the boy and girl’s wrists together with a shoelace,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said at a June 14 press conference at the park. “The perpetrator then sexually assaulted the 13-year-old girl. When the assault was concluded, the perpetrator told both victims to stay at the location for 20 minutes while he fled on foot after robbing both children of their cell phones.”

The children returned to their school and told staff about the attack. Officers from the 109th Precinct responded to the incident. EMS brought both victims to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital in stable condition.

Police set up a massive crime scene in Kissena Corridor Park in the aftermath of the sexual assault. Kenny reported that officers recovered a shoelace and a water bottle which the suspect used; both pieces of evidence were processed for forensic evidence.

The NYPD and CrimeStoppers had offered a combined $10,000 reward for information leading to the assailant’s arrest and conviction.