Nurse fights off would-be kidnapper who showed up at her door, cops say
HOWELL — Police say a nurse's patient showed up at her door and tried to kidnap her — punching and choking the nurse, and assaulting her 64-year-old mother in the confrontation.
Police said they were able to quickly apprehend 37-year-old Leonardo Larrarte of Lakewood after arriving at a Howell home Friday for a report of a disturbance. There, they found a woman whose clothing was torn, and who was bleeding, holding ice to her face, police said.
They said Sgt. Nick Bondarew and his K9 partner, Vito, found Larrarte within minutes of a suspect description being broadcast, but they didn't say where he was found or whether police were already familiar with him. An image of his arrest released by police shows Larrarte lying on the ground, face-down, with an officer and police dog standing a few feet away.
The alleged victim, a registration nurse at Monmouth Medical Center-Kimball in Lakewood, told police she'd seen Larrarte as a patient the previous night, police said. NJ.com quoted Howell police saying he'd made her way to her hospital after being sent their by police for a psych evaluation following an altercation with his roommate.
According to a Howell Police Facebook post, the nurse said that Friday afternoon, she heard a knocking at her door and found her mother had already let Larrarte inside. When the nurse told Larrarte to leave, he refused and assaulted the nurse's mother, police said. They didn't say in a news release how badly the mother was hurt.
A friend of the nurse who was upstairs called 911, but didn't know the house number, police said. Officers headed to the area where the cell call was made, they said.
Police said Larrarte claimed the nurse was his wife, and demanded she come with him or he'd killed her mother.
The nurse grabbed a knife from the kitchen and tried to defend herself by trying to stabbing Larrarte, police said. He nonetheless continued to punch and choke her, police said.
But she persisted, and Larrarte eventually left the home, police said. Neighbors called 911 as well after hearing the commotion.
Larrarte has been charged with first-degree attempted kidnapping, second-degree burglary, third-degree terroristic threats, fourth-degree possession of synthetic marijuana and simple assault.
Police said they don't know how Larrarte knew where the nurse lived, but they seized two cellphones they plan to analyze.
Both the nurse and her mother have been treated and released from a hospital, police said.
“Our homes are our sanctuary," Chief Andrew Kudtrick said in the statement posted to Facebook. "A place that should always be safe. No one should have to go through such a traumatic, life-altering incident such as this. Fortunately, she fought back and refused to quit. As a result she survived. Predators such as Larrarte should never be allowed to see another day of freedom to victimize another innocent person."
New Jersey 101.5 did not know if Larrante had an attorney who could address the accusations against him.