Brave 88-Year-Old Woman Foils Assault by Claiming She Has HIV



Photo: Getty Images


Eighty-eight-year-old Helen Reynolds opened the door of her Parkesburg, Pa., home on Feb. 17 for a man claiming he worked for the apartment complex where she lives.

She knew he didn’t work there, she tells, but the man barged his way inside and shut the door.

The man then bound Reynolds’s hands with duct tape and rummaged around the house for valuables. He took $40 from her purse and then took her into the bedroom. According to Reynolds, the man removed her clothes and his pants, and put a box of condoms on her nightstand.

It was then she said “I have HIV and my husband died from it.” Reynolds told WPVI in an interview. “That’s the comment that saved my life.”

Reynolds does not in fact have HIV; she told her attacker she did to dissuade him from sexually assaulting her. She also kicked him in the groin from where she lay on the bed. “Maybe I really hurt him. I don’t know, and I really don’t care,” Reynolds told ABC 6 in an interview.

The man bound Reynolds’s feet in wire and gagged her with duct tape. He then used the bathroom, removed the batteries from two phones in the apartment, and left. Reynolds was able to chew through the duct tape and get help from a neighbor.

Police have released a sketch of the man, describing him as mixed race or a light-skinned black man in his late teens to early twenties.

A similar recent home invasion in nearby East Brandywine Township is not connected to that of Reynolds. In that particular case a man broke into a home, beat and bound a 72-year-old woman and then locked her in a closet. She was found four days later, alive, by her daughter-in-law. Police arrested and charged a 17-year-old boy who had escaped from a nearby behavioral health facility in that case. Reynolds’s attacker remains at large.

Authorities are asking anyone with information to come forward and report it to the Parkesburg Borough Police Department, (610) 857-3535.



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