A woman who was attacked by a man in Boston in September grabbed something before she slipped into unconsciousness — a wallet that included an identification card with the name of Edwin Alemany in it, but Alemany was never charged, Boston police said Friday.
Alemany, 28, is a person of interest in this week’s slaying of Amy E. Lord, 24, of South Boston, Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said. On Tuesday morning, Lord was beaten, kidnapped, and forced to withdraw money from five Boston banks before she was murdered and her body was left at Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park.
The failure to charge Alemany after the Sept. 28 attack, which happened as the woman walked along Parker Hill Avenue at around 2:28 a.m., appeared to raise troubling questions.
Davis said at a news conference late Friday afternoon that an internal affairs probe would be launched into a detective’s handling of the September case. He described Alemany as a “violent guy” who needed to be kept off the street.
“I’m very disappointed in what the detective did in this case,” Davis said. “I would hope that a more thorough and aggressive stance ... is something that we would pursue in a case like this.”
The victim, a young architectural student who asked that her name not be released, said she did not follow through with police after she was attacked. She said she had wanted to put the ordeal behind her.
“Now that I look back on it, it’s kind of stupid. I should have called,” she said, growing emotional. “If they would have done something...I just feel bad for that girl. I didn’t know those two would be connected.”
Davis did not answer directly when asked if detectives in 2012 visited any addresses associated with Alemany, and a police spokeswoman, Cheryl Fiandaca, said that question was under review.
Davis did say that detectives attempted to contact Alemany and submitted DNA evidence for testing, though he did not elaborate.
He said that in hindsight, “it’s clear” that Alemany was the “prime suspect” and he believed police had probable cause to arrest Alemany at the time.
“We might not have been able to get over the bar of a guilty verdict on that case ... but that’s not our standard,” he said. “Our standard is probable cause.”
Fiandaca said the detective’s supervisors are also subject to review.
Davis also said at the news conference that authorities were “confident and comfortable” that they were on the right track in the Lord murder investigation and that they did not have any evidence of a second suspect.
“We’re working hard to follow up on all leads,” he said.
Alemany faces charges in attacks on two other women in the hours before and after the murder of Lord. He was deemed unfit for arraignment on those charges Thursday and a judge ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital.
Boston police released a redacted version of the report on the September incident.
According to the report, a detective from Area B responded to the scene and “took possession of the wallet.”
It is not clear from the report what happened to the investigation. The attack and Alemany’s possible role in it were first reported by the Boston Herald.
According to the report, the woman was walking on Parker Hill Avenue when she was attacked “from behind and strangled.’’ The woman told police that “as she was falling to the ground, she grabbed an unknown object’’ before she fell unconscious.
When she awoke, she discovered she was holding something in her hand, police said. “As she regained conciousness, she had a wallet not belonging to her with an identification card ... with other personal papers.”
Despite rain and gray skies, about 60 South Boston residents showed up to hear Mayor Thomas M. Menino speak on West Broadway Friday afternoon.
Menino reassured them that they live in a safe neighborhood, reiterating that there is only one suspect and that he is in custody, an apparent reference to Alemany. Police are awaiting DNA test results before making an arrest, he said.
“I want folks to know that the city is active in this investigation,” he said. “We will not let one person prevent us from going about our daily activities.”
Nearby Boston police had set up a tent and tables, where officers handed out brochures detailing how to contact police and how to be a good witness. Also available were small blue whistles, which were snatched up by the dozen.
Peggy Gill, 64, who has lived in South Boston all her life, came to pick up several whistles for herself and her three grandchildren. She said news of Amy Lord’s murder made her feel sick and increasingly paranoid. She said the neighborhood used to feel safe – a “wonderful place to grow up” – but now she fears for her daughter and her grandchildren.
“I want this to be a nice place for them to grow up,” she said. “Something has to be done.”
She said she had made several adjustments since hearing about the murder, making sure to lock all her doors and close all her windows, even when it is hot outside.
Her daughter places a chair up against her back door every night for extra protection against intruders, she said. And Gill said she never takes her eyes off her grandchildren.
Mary Glynn bit back tears as she stood by the tent. The 57-year-old said she has lived in Boston for 50 years but has never seen the neighborhood as broken as this.
On the morning Lord’s body was discovered, Glynn originally thought the body might belong to her 32-year-old daughter, who walks her dog every morning at 5:30 a.m.
“My heart is broken,” she said. “It could have been her. I don’t know what this place is coming to.”
Glynn picked up a few whistles from the table. She said she had advised her daughter to walk the dog later in the morning, no earlier than 8 a.m.
Before Glynn leaves for work, she makes sure her doors are locked – something she never used to do, she said. The dog she shares with her daughter is small comfort. “He’s a Yorkie,” she said. “But he thinks he’s a pitbull.”