A teenager from Puerto Rico has been jailed on an attempted homicide charge in the attack of a Lehigh University student inside her home early Wednesday morning.
Police responded around 3:20 a.m. to a 911 call from the victim's roommates reporting a burglary in progress in the 400 block of Carlton Avenue.
Officers arrived to find an open window on the first floor, with a chair by it, said police, adding that when they went inside, they found on the second floor the 17-year-old suspect, Bryan Sanchez Osorio, coming out of a bedroom and pulling up his shorts.
Officers apprehended Osorio, who had scratches on his chest, and then found the unconscious victim, half-naked, in the bedroom, police said.
Emergency responders performed CPR until the woman regained consciousness. She was then rushed to St. Luke's Hospital.
"I'm heartbroken," said one neighbor and fellow Lehigh student. "I know her. She is a really sweet girl. I'm sorry that happened."
At some point, the handcuffed Osorio managed to escape police custody and flee the home, said police, who later found him hiding under the porch of another home more than a block away.
During a preliminary arraignment Wednesday afternoon, police revealed that Osorio attempted to strangle the woman with his hands and a pillow until she turned blue and became unconscious. Police said he then removed her underwear.
The victim later indicated to police that she thought she was going to die.
For neighbor Tabitha Cortes, who had her house broken into a few years ago while her 18-year-old child was home alone, the incident serves as a startling reminder of what if.
"That is my biggest fear. What happened to her was a fear I had when they came into my house," Cortes said. "What if my kid could have gotten hurt or something like that."
Osorio, who has been living with his sister in Bethlehem for about a month, was charged with criminal attempt homicide, aggravated assault, escape, criminal attempt rape and criminal trespassing.
A judge set his bail at $100,000.
This is the second incident involving Lehigh students and break-ins this week. On Tuesday, a student startled an intruder inside her house, shared by fellow Lehigh students on East Fifth Street.
The suspect fled on foot and was captured a short time later by Bethlehem police.