$5,000 reward offered for information about man who attacked 2 students at FIU

Police pass out fliers in hopes someone identifies culprit

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Ian Margol - Reporter, Nicole Perez - Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A reward of up to $5,000 is now being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the man who attacked two high school students last month at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus.

FIU police passed out fliers Wednesday informing the public about the increased reward and trying to find someone who recognizes the attacker from a sketch. 

"We're just afraid that he'll do this to someone else," James Critz's mother, Tara James, said.  "It was so brutal and completely unprovoked, so I feel like he's not going to just stop at this, especially if he just gets away with it."

Authorities said Critz, 16, Bela Perdomo, 15, 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.

Police said the man was about 5 feet 10 inches tall and had brown eyes and black hair.

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," Perdomo told reporters at a news conference late last month. "James and I were on our way walking back and out of nowhere, we were both attacked."

Perdomo 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 she 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,'" Perdomo said.

Family members said both teens suffered skull fractures, among other injuries.

"He can hear now out of his left ear, but that's healing quickly they say. He just got his cast off of his arm (and) he's wearing a back brace until the end of November, but he's doing much better," Tara James said. 

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. 

"This guy almost looks like anyone you would see on the street, so please really keep an eye out," James said. "Look at the picture. There is a reward, if you know anyone. Especially show it to young people and they might know someone who knows someone and, you know, maybe they'll turn the guy in."

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.

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