Eco Hero winner attacked at FIU says assailant told her to take off clothes

Sketch released of man who attacked Bela Perdomo, classmate with tree branch

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - One of two high school students who were beaten with a tree branch at Florida International University said Thursday that her attacker "sounded completely normal" before he turned violent.

Local 10 News anchor Kristi Krueger and Zoo Miami's Ron Magill visited Bela Perdomo, 15, at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood. Magill brought Bela a stuffed penguin.

Bela and James Critz, 16, are students at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus. They were attacked Monday while collecting samples for a science project on the North Miami campus.

Bela said 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 with her.

"I started yelling help at one point, and he instantly got worried that he was going to get caught," Bela recalled. "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.' And he was kind of talking like that."

Bela, who was Local 10's Eco Hero winner last year, said she worked with a police sketch artist. FIU police released the sketch Thursday.

In the meantime, Bela said she's looking forward to her trip to Antarctica and is ready to see some real penguins.

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