2 arrests made; 1 suspect on the loose
(Central Islip - WABC, May 17, 2007) - Police have arrested two men and are searching for a third accused of raping a Long Island student.
Authorities say the attack happened near the teenage victim's high school in Central Islip, on Carlton Avenue. Now, there are questions about whether the rape was part of a gang initiation.
Long Island reporter Lauren DeFranco has details from Central Islip.
The details of this crime are horrifying. Prosecutors say the victim was grabbed right off the street and gang raped at knifepoint. Police are still searching for a third suspect.
"It really is a shame that it did happen," one student said. "My heart goes out to the girl."
It is a crime that has young women thinking twice about walking alone. Prosecutors describe it as a brutal attack, in which three alleged gang members are accused of abducting a high school girl at knifepoint and simultaneously raping her in a parking lot behind a bar on Carlton Avenue.
"You just got to pray to God and just hope for the best for her," a student said.
"I think that's horrifying, especially for the parents," another said. "Knowing that their child just left the house and then to be attacked."
Police say 26-year-old Leonidas Bonilla grabbed the girl off the street. Now, he and 17-year-old Ariel Memejia are facing multiple charges, including kidnapping, rape and sexual assault.
"The allegations of this crime involve a brutal rape," defense attorney Ed Yule said. "Again, it's an allegation, and it's about as gruesome on paper as it can be."
Investigators say the accused gang members are illegal immigrants from El Salvador. Sources say the men left clothing behind, which led to their arrest. Police are searching for a third suspect, which is leaving high school students nervous about their own safety.
"I'm a walker," one student said. "You don't want to wish that upon nobody. That's the worst thing that can happen to a girl."
Both men are being held on $250,000 cash bail. Anyone with information on the third suspect is urged to call police.