EAST BRANDYWINE TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- Authorities say a 17-year-old boy attacked a 72-year-old woman inside her Chester County home and left her bound in a storage area for four days.
The teen was arrested Wednesday. Authorities say he resided at Devereux Brandywine, a behavioral health facility near where the victim lives, and is originally from Thailand. His last known address was in Media, Pa.
The teen has been charged with attempted homicide, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, strangulation, and related charges, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced Thursday.
On Wednesday, February 22, authorities say the victim, a grandmother, returned to her East Brandywine Township home after being out for a short while in the morning and noticed her home had been burglarized and someone had stolen her credit cards.
She then left to go to work.
Authorities say, around 7:30 p.m., she returned to her home and was grabbed and struck.
According to officials, the attacker told her, "You'll be with Jesus soon." She was then choked until she lost consciousness.
Authorities say the attacker then covered the victim's head with a shopping bag, secured around her neck with duct tape, and tied her arms in back of her with zip ties, duct tape, and cloth. Her knees and ankles were bound together with duct tape.
Before leaving, authorities say the attacker tossed the bound victim into a small, unlit storage area underneath a set of stairs in the house.
Authorities say the victim was left tied up in the room - without food or water or light - from Wednesday night until Sunday morning.
The suspect stole the victim's credit cards, car, phone, and other items.
Authorities say her family grew concerned after they did not hear from her for several days. A family member went to the home around 10 a.m. Sunday, February 26 and found the victim badly dehydrated, malnourished, and injured from the assault, but still alive.
The victim was taken to Paoli Hospital where she received emergency treatment and will survive her injuries.
"The victim showed remarkable courage and resilience in surviving the ordeal. She is strong physically and mentally, and will recover with the help of her family," Hogan said in a statement.
As police began to investigate they discovered a teenager at nearby Devereux Brandywine had escaped on February 22, the same day as the attack.
The staff at Devereux had reported the teen's absence to the police.
The teen, however, returned to Devereux on February 24, but subsequently was transferred to another facility.
Investigators traced the use of the victim's stolen credit cards and discovered one was used in Maryland on February 22.
Police say surveillance video from the store where the credit card were used showed the missing Devereux teen, both emerging from the victim's stolen car and using the victim's credit card.
Authorities executed a search warrant on the teen's belongings left at Devereux. Police say they recovered the clothes that the teen was wearing when he used the victim's car and credit card. They also found the victim's stolen phone.
An employee at Devereux told police that the teen bleached his shoes when he came back to Devereux.
Police say though the shoes were bleached, they still had a distinctive diamond pattern on the soles, which matched the pattern of footprints left in the victim's home.
The suspect will have a public detention hearing on Friday before a Juvenile Court Master. Authorities are looking to have the teenager tried as an adult.
"This juvenile engaged in a brutal attack on the victim, then showed a callous disregard for her life. The charged juvenile is lucky that the victim did not die. If the victim had not been found by her family, the defendant would be facing murder charges," Hogan said.
Anybody with information on this case should contact Chester County Detective Ben Martin at (610) 344-6866 or East Brandywine Detective Dan Orris at (610) 269-4300.
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