2007_04_hamheights.jpgPolice are still looking for a man who raped and tortured a 23-year-old woman in her apartment on Hamilton Terrace off West 141st Street Friday night through Saturday afternoon. The attacker had tied up the woman and set her apartment on fire when he left, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "It appears she was able to escape as a result of the fire. She was tied, and the flame was used by her to break the bond."

He added that the attack was "particularly vicious," with the rapist not only sexually assaulting her, but he "burned her with scalding water and chemicals...and slit her eyelids," according to the Daily News. A neighbor told the NY Times it seemed that she was tied with electrical cords and pillowcases. She is in stable but serious condition.

The grandson of another building tenant said that when he smelled smoke in the building, he ran to the superintendent's basement office. Ronald Ward said the super was helping the woman, who kept saying, "I got raped! I got raped!" The News reports the woman is a student at Columbia's School of Journalism; neighbors tell the Post the woman was "new to the building" and "moved in over her dad's objections for fear for her safety."

The police say the attack occurred around 11:30PM on Friday, when the man followed her into the building and elevator, and forced his way into her apartment, leaving at 4:30PM Saturday. He is described as a black man, around 6'1" and 180 pounds, bald with a goatee and a scar on his abdomen; people are urged to call Crimestoppers (800-577-TIPS) with more information.