MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A South Florida teen spoke Wednesday at a news conference to ask for the public's help in identifying a man who attacked her and her classmate at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus.
Bela Perdomo, 15, and James Critz, 16, who are students at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology at FIU, were collecting samples Sept. 10 for a science project near the school when the man approached them.
After talking to them for a few minutes, the man suddenly attacked the students with a tree branch, police said.
"I was walking by the bay and it was completely random," Bela told reporters. "James and I were on our way walking back and out of nowhere we were both attacked."
Bela previously told Local 10 News their attacker knocked out James first and then went after her. She said he looked like any other student on campus and was even friendly to her.
But Bela said the man then demanded that she remove her clothes before he attacked her.
"He said, 'Don't worry. Don't worry. I'm not going to kill you. Just take off your clothes and you'll be fine. I won't kill you. But if you don't take off your clothes, then I'll have to kill you,'" Bela said.
Family members said both teens suffered skull fractures. During Wednesday's news conference, Bela said she also suffered a fractured arm, hearing loss and damage to her vision.
Police have released a sketch of the attacker.
Bela said she was fearful for her life during the attack and thought maybe her attacker would throw the teens into the bay.
"I was just thinking, 'OK, let me try not to die,'" Bela said. "I was thinking maybe he'd throw us in the bay. I was trying to think of what his intentions were during the attack and how to get around them."
James did not attend Wednesday's news conference, but Bela said he has gotten much better in the past week. Bela's mother said the teens have even met up since being released from the hospital to catch up on school work.
"The first thing that goes through my mind is that I can't believe this happened, period, to my own child," Elizabeth Perdomo said. "This guy is out there and it could happen to someone else and we need to get this guy, whether he's ill, or he's violent or it's the first time, we don't know. But he's out there (and) somebody knows who he is."
FIU police said they are following up on every lead that comes in and are continuing to ask for the community's help in identifying the man.
Anyone with information about the attack is asked to contact FIU police at 305-348-2626 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.