Source AP ©

Man suspected of brutal rape arrested

A man suspected of brutal rape of a Columbia University graduate student, who was held as a hostage for 19 hours in her apartment, has been arrested Friday.

Police identified the suspect as William Roberts, 30, who has convictions for attempted murder and assault. They said evidence found at the scene of the attack and an anonymous tip had pointed to Roberts.

Roberts had not been arraigned, and the charges on which he was arrested were not immediately clear. The Manhattan District Attorney's office did not immediately return a telephone message.

The victim, who had been nearing her degree at the Graduate School of Journalism, was still hospitalized with cuts to her eye lids and other injuries.

The attack began on April 13 after the assailant slipped inside the victim's upper Manhattan apartment building and forced his way into her home. Over the next several hours, he raped her on her futon bed, tied her up with computer cables, force fed her drugs and alcohol and used a knife to slit her eyelids, police said.

Before fleeing at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, the rapist ignited a corner of the futon. The victim used the flames to loosen the cables and run for help, police said.

Investigators recovered a surveillance videotape from a neighboring market showing the man believed to be the rapist walk in wearing a large jacket over a hooded sweat shirt. He is seen walking toward an automated teller machine, where, police said, he withdrew $200 from the victim's bank account.

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