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Composite Sketch Case Study
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Central Park Assault of an Unidentified Victim

The following is an account of the one of the toughest high profile cases I worked on. It demonstrates aspects of these kinds of cases and the pressures of the media. As I write, there are still some intense emotions about this case.

Following are just a few excerpts about the case from my book "The Police Composite Sketch".

Police Sketch

"I was summoned to report to a hospital to produce a sketch of an unidentified female assault victim likely to die. When I arrived at the hospital, I was told the victim was being prepped for surgery. I inquired, would it be possible see her if only for a moment. The doctors hesitantly agreed. I put on a surgical gown, mask and gloves and was lead into the operating room. What I saw was heart breaking. There in the bed was a petite young woman. Her face and head were so bruised that her skin color was shades of dark blue and purple. Her head was swollen to twice its normal size."

"The sketch was done in a waiting room of the hospital. I treated the development of the sketch as a composite. Talking myself through as if I was a witness, I sketched my recollection of what I had just determined about the victim’s appearance. What emerged was likeness of a pretty young woman’s face that was behind this mask of torture."

Sketch of Victim

"The next day the sketch of the woman was plastered all over the city and newspapers. We all wanted to desperately identify this victim. Everyone desired to know who the victim was and her name. It became the focus of much of the public’s attention. This woman had set out one afternoon to go jogging in a public park and was attacked by a vicious assailant."

"In the days that followed, the magnitude of the Central Park assailant’s intentions became all too clear. He was a crime spree. It was as if a wild animal had been let loose on the streets of Manhattan. On Tuesday, June 4 he attached the woman in Central Park. Wednesday at a heliport on the east side he assaulted a 50 year old woman and struck her in the head. On Friday he badly beat a 26 year old woman and raped her in Yonkers, New York. On the following Tuesday he fatally assaulted a woman on Park Avenue. She died."

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Suspect Sketch


The suspect arrogantly confessed and was convicted.

The victim was identified by the sketch. However, read the full account in my book "The Police Composite Sketch" and find out how her identification played out.

"One of my witness suspect sketches did emerge as the leading composite image. I conducted this session a couple of days after the Central Park assault during a 2am field sketch in a back room of the midtown police precinct. It was a difficult session to say the least. The witness’s memory was weak. He did his best to recall any distinct descriptive detail. We struggled. There wasn’t much"

"This case broke a few days later in the early morning hours of June 12. A latent fingerprint print recovered at one of the crime scenes lead to the suspect."

"The NYPD Detective Bureau an incredible crime fighting machine succeeded in identifying and removing this individual from the streets."

"The New York Daily News printed the story including several photographs of suspect along the composite sketch that bore a strong likeness to him.""

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