Merrimac man set to appear in court over home invasion attack on elderly woman – NBC Boston



A man from Merrimac is due in court on Tuesday for allegedly breaking into the home of an elderly woman and assaulting her earlier this month.

William S. Raia, 50, was arrested Monday evening at his home by state and local police, more than two weeks after the July 3 incident, said Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett in a press release. Raia is charged with four counts of aggravated rape, kidnapping, home invasion, strangulation and assault and battery causing bodily harm to an elderly person.

Raia is expected to be brought to justice on Tuesday in Newburyport District Court. It is not known whether he obtained a lawyer.

Authorities allege Raia is the man who broke into the home of a 74-year-old woman on Hillside Avenue around 11 p.m. the night before July 4. During the terrifying ordeal, the woman woke up to find the man in her bedroom armed with a knife, police said. The suspect threatened the victim with his knife and assaulted her on several occasions, until she could flee to a nearby house and call the police.

Neighbors in the community are hoping for more information and say the biggest concern is that the suspect is still there.

The woman was taken to Lawrence General Hospital where she was treated and released. She then worked with a police detective to create a sketch of the suspect, which was released on July 5.

In the sketch, the suspect was depicted as a 5’5 to 5’6 ” tall man, around 40 years old, with short brown hair, a slim build and fair complexion with a seasonal tan.

In the days following the spooky attack, neighbors feared the suspect was still at large, while Shears assured the community that authorities were doing everything possible to locate the suspect as quickly as possible.

“The entire Merrimac Police Department team has worked diligently on this investigation since it was first reported. I am grateful to them and for the help of the Essex District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Lab and the Essex State Police Detective Unit ”, Shears said. “I also appreciate the continued support and patience of our community as we work to identify and arrest the suspect.”

Shears said Monday evening that although Raia is in custody, it remains an active investigation. Merrimac Police, Massachusetts State Police and the Essex District Attorney’s Office dealt with the case.

A man armed with a knife assaulted a woman in her bedroom after breaking into her home.


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