NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The NYPD was investigating Wednesday whether the vicious stabbing of a teenager in Queens could be related to an earlier crime.
Natasha Martinez, 17, was brutally attacked around 11 p.m. Monday as she walked home from work along 85th Street in the Woodhaven section of Queens. A man came up behind her and began plunging a knife into her repeatedly, police said.
Martinez was taken to Jamaica Hospital and underwent surgery for wounds to her back, arms, stomach and kidney. She had her spleen removed and was in stable condition Wednesday, according to published reports.
Police have begun investigating whether the stabbing that injured Martinez might be related to another incident that happened at 4 a.m. on June 25, also in Queens.
“We’re looking at similarities between this and an event that happened in Queens – it’s a distance away in the 105th Precinct – it happened on June 25,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Denizard’s uncle, Taylor Antoine, shuddered to think about the attack that wounded his niece.
“He put a knife right here, here, here,” he said, demonstrating where his niece was stabbed. “But she fight.”
A neighbor told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones in June that Denizard had complained about someone following her for a period of time before the attack. She has been released from the hospital and was expected to return to work as a home health care aide in about a month.
Antoine said he hoped police would find the suspect.
“I trust the police over here,” he said. “They’re going to get him. He’s going to pay the price.”
Many women who live near the stabbing scenes were concerned about their safety, with a possible serial stabbing suspect on the loose.
“We don’t know who it is, so it’s scary,” said Queens Village resident Yasmine Webb. “We could walk past this person in the street and not ever know what’s going on. So it’s really, it’s unsettling. It’s scary”
“I’m a teenager, you know, teenagers like to hang out late,” added Queens Village resident Takeita Lindsey. “But now that that happened, I don’t go outside late anymore. I feel not safe around here anymore.”
In the latest attack that wounded Martinez, a surveillance video shows the stabbing suspect moments before his act Monday night, strolling along wearing a hoodie.
Following the stabbing, Wendy Martinez found her daughter stumbling into their apartment near the crime scene in Queens on Monday night, and crying out.
“I think the guy saw her and stabbed her with a knife, like 10 times,” Wendy Martinez said.
Kelly said police believe Martinez did not know the attacker who followed her from work, or from a bodega where she had bought a sandwich.
Police recovered a knife with a 6-inch blade.
Investigators Tuesday had only a vague description of the suspect, who is said to be a black male, approximately 5-foot-6, and last seen wearing a white T-shirt, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 27463 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- Former Convicts Lead Fitness Classes At ConBody On Lower East Side
- Police: 2 Men Force Woman To Cash Check On Their Behalf
- Man Sought In Queens Burglary Spree, Police Say
- Police Search For Man Accused Of Reaching Up Woman’s Dress At Grand Central
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)