Police launched a massive hunt Monday for the killer of a jogger in Central Park whose slashed body was found near where another woman runner was raped and viciously beaten by a group of youths six years ago.
Police made a tentative identification of the woman but were not releasing it until they could notify her family.
The 44-year-old victim worked in a shoe store and lived in a mid-town Manhattan apartment, Police Commissioner William Bratton said. Her family was believed to live in South America.
Police sources said the woman came to New York from Rio de Janeiro. She worked at a shoe store on Madison Avenue, they said.
Her body was found by two runners Sunday morning face down in a stream. Her shorts and underwear were pulled down around her ankles, and officials were investigating whether she had been sexually attacked.
The medical examiner said she died of skull fractures and lacerations of her brain caused by blunt impacts. Her face was slashed and her teeth were smashed in, police said.
Police identified her with the help of the shoe store's owner, who recognized her from a sketch circulated in local newspapers and called police, Bratton said.
Her boss recognized her, in part, because of her jewelry, Bratton said. She was wearing two rings on her right hand, including one made from a half dollar.
Her body was found a few hundred yards from where a female jogger was gang-raped and left for dead by a group of teen-agers in 1989.
That jogger was so badly beaten that her boyfriend identified her only by her gold ring.
Six youths were convicted in the 1989 attack, which horrified the city and polarized public opinion along racial lines because the victim was white and her assailants were black and Latino.
The woman, an investment banker, has recovered enough to return to work, although she still suffers effects of the attack, including vision problems and hearing loss.
A 24-hour police scooter patrol has since operated in the park at the site of the 1989 incident, but police said the officer on duty did not hear the latest attack.