Hartford police investigating online date that led to a violent assault

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HARTFORD -- Police are investigating a violent physical assault that happened in Keney Park Thursday, stemming from an online dating website meetup.

A young woman, just over 18 years old, was assaulted when she met with a man she communicated with on OKCupid for the first time in person. The woman was picked up from Capitol Community College, but ended up running for her life.

Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley said the woman got into a car with the guy she was planning to see, but there was a second man in the back seat. The three drove from the school in downtown Hartford to a remote section of Keney Park. Suddenly, the man in the back seat put a plastic bag over the woman’s head, according to detectives. Both the men proceeded to physically assault her. Police said the woman kicked and screamed until she could run away with only one shoe. She was later treated for minor injuries.

“Right now, it would be defined as an assault, but we look at this as much more than that,” said Foley.  “A person puts a plastic bag over a female’s head -- that’s an attempted murder.”

Investigators are looking at video surveillance through the city for any information that can help identify the two men. They were driving a tan Toyota Corolla with four doors.

The incident raises questions about the safety of online dating. Police suggest these tips when going on an online date:

  • Get to know the person best as you can before a meet up
  • Meet in a public place with a lot of people
  • Stay in control of your environment
  • Trust your instincts

Foley said investigators have been in contact with several departments around the state and region.

"Reaching out to you know, Providence, Springfield," said Foley. "If anyone has any types of homicides or anything like this, this type of pattern or event to see if that could be help to this investigation or we could be of help to their investigation."

Anyone with information is asked to call Hartford Police.