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Family seeks information on assault of niece


SOUTH AMBOY — The family of a city resident is looking for anyone who may know more about how she ended up in the hospital.

Debbie O’Connor said her niece, Emily Rand, 19, was involved in an argument on a New Brunswick street on Oct. 29 near the Rutgers University campus.

“All I know is what I have been told,” said O’Connor, with whom Rand lives. “There was an argument that broke out.”

O’Connor said she believes some men started calling Rand and her friend what O’Connor said were inappropriate names.

“My niece took offense to it and swung at the guy,” she continued. “He punched her and she fell backwards, hitting her head on concrete.”

Rand has been unconscious since that fall. Her prognosis is unclear, O’Connor said, as she is still unresponsive.

According to a GoFundMe page for Rand’s medical expenses, she has brain bleeding, a fractured skull and a concussion. Last week, doctors removed a piece of her skull about the size of a dollar bill to relieve the pressure against her brain.

“She is still on ventilator and sedated at this moment,” O’Connor said. “The doctors are talking about taking her off sedatives to see if she will respond.”

O’Connor added that the ordeal will not be over when her niece wakes up.

“The doctors are saying when she comes to, she has a long road to recovery,” she said.

Initial reports indicated that the family believed the man’s name was Chris, but they have since learned the man’s name is actually Dan.

Part of the incident was captured on video; that video and information about Emily’s situation has been shared on social media in an attempt to locate the man. There have been no charges filed regarding the incident yet.


O’Connor said she is optimistic that with the New Brunswick Police Department’s assistance, the suspect involved in the altercation will be found.

“I do feel with help from those who can identify him from video and some who were there, they will locate and arrest him,” she said.

O’Connor described her niece as perky, fun-loving and well liked.

“She goes to Middlesex County College and works as a waitress at Macaroni Grill,” she added.

The GoFundMe page has a target of $5,000; so far, $3,000 has been raised.

Anyone with any information about the incident is encouraged to call the New Brunswick Police Department at 732-745-5217.

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