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Who Is The Central Park Jogger? New Details On Trisha Meili 30 Years After The Attack That Nearly Killed Her

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Who Is The Central Park Jogger? New Details On Trisha Meili 30 Years After The Attack That Nearly Killed Her

30 years ago, on the night of April 19, 1989, Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old Yale-educated investment banker at Soloman Brothers went for a jog in Central Park as she often did. She loved to run, loved the park and loved New York City. On that night, however, her nightly run would conincide with a roving band of African-American and Hispanic teenagers who were roving the park, rioting and attacking joggers and others in their path. Trisha Meili was raped, brutally beaten and dragged off the main path and left for dead. Five teenagers known as The Central Park Five were originally convicted of raping and beating her. For years, she kept her identity hidden. Who is The Central Park Jogger?

1. April 19, 1989

Trisha Meili was going for a run in Central Park just before 9pm. While she was jogging, she was knocked down, dragged and violently assaulted. She was raped and nearly beaten to death. About four hours later, at 1:30am, she was found naked, tied up, gagged and covered in mud and blood in a shallow ravine about 300 feet off of a path called the 102nd Street Crossing. The first police officer who saw her said: She was beaten as badly as anybody I've ever seen beaten. She looked like she was tortured."


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2. Her injuries

Trisha Meili was comatose for 12 days. She had severe brain damage, severe hypothermia, Class 4 (the most severe) hemorrahgic shock, she lost 75-80% of her blood and had internal bleeding. Her skull was so badly fractured that her left eye was out of its socket. That eye socket was fractured in 21 places. She also had facial fractures. Her intital diagnosis was that she would not survive her injuries. Doctors thought that at best she would be in a permanent coma. She emerged from her coma 12 days after her attack unable to talk, read or walk. She spent seven weeks in East Harlem's Metropolitan Hospital before being transferred to Gaylord Hospital, a long-term acute care center in Wallingford, Connecticut. Trisha spent six months in rehab. She was able to walk again for the first time in mid-July. It was eight months before she could return to work. She made a miraculous recovery with only issues of balance and loss of vision. She has no memory of the attack or any events up to an hour before it or of the six weeks following it.

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3. Before the attack

Trisha Meili was born on June 24, 1960 in Paramus, New Jersey. She was raised in the affluent Pittsburgh suburb of Upper St. Clair. She was an accomplished ballet dancer.She was a Phi Beta Kapps economics major at Wellesley College, graduating with a B.A. in 1982. While at Wellesley, Trisha helped organize a nutritional program for battered women. In 1986 she gradiated with an MA and MBA from Yale. In the summer of 1986 she started working as an associate at Salomon Brothers investment bank. She still worked there at the time of the attack as a vice president in the corporate finance and energy group. At the time of the attack, she lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She was 28 years old and weighed less than 100 pounds.

4. "The Central Park Jogger"

Most of the media at the time referred to Meili as the "Central Park Jogger," as was the custom to not identify victims of rape. However, two local TV stations violated this policy and released her name in the days right after the attack. The City Sun and Amsterdam News — two newspapers predominantly aimed at the African American community — as well as talk radio station WLIB also released her name. Meili did not confirm that she was the Central Park Jogger until 2003. She is the author of the book I Am The Central Park Jogger: A Story Of Hope and Possibility. She works as a inspirational speaker and with victims of sexual assault and brain injury. She continues to have memory loss from the attack.


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5. Reclaiming the run

Before the attack, Trisha had been an avid runner since her undergraduate days at Wellesley. She ran four to six miles daily. In 1995, Trisha Meili took back the run and ran the New York City marathon. 

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.