Suspect arrested in sexual assault of 71-year-old woman

Zyree Downing
Philadelphia police

A suspect accused of sexually assaulting and robbing a 71-year-old woman inside her East Mount Airy home earlier this month was arrested late Monday night in North Carolina, authorities said.

Law enforcement apprehended 22-year-old Zyree Downing at around 11:30 p.m. after he was spotted in the town of Edenton, according to Philadelphia police.

Investigators said Downing entered the woman’s house on the 7400 block of Devon Street through an unlocked door on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 15.

After gaining access to the home, he demanded money from the woman, and, when she refused, he punched her in the head and back several times, police said. Then, he allegedly ordered her to remove her clothes and assaulted her.

Authorities said Downing left the scene in the victim’s Toyota Corolla and also took her cell phone and credit card.

Charges had not been filed against Downing as of Tuesday afternoon, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, on Twitter, commended the PPD’s Special Victims Unit, the FBI’s Philadelphia office and the U.S. Marshals Service for their work to apprehend Downing.

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