The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

'Several Brain Surgeries' for N.W. Side Teen Who Was Raped, Beaten

By Erin Meyer | January 7, 2014 1:18pm | Updated on January 7, 2014 3:39pm
 Luis Pantoja, 25, is charged in the rape and attempted murder of a 15-year-old girl in December.
Luis Pantoja, 25, is charged in the rape and attempted murder of a 15-year-old girl in December.
View Full Caption
Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A teenager raped and beaten allegedly by a deaf and mute man in a Northwest Side assault suffered multiple skull fractures and has undergone a number of brain surgeries, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The teenager suffered multiple skull fractures "and had significant bleeding in the brain," prosecutors said. The injuries "required her to be placed in a drug-induced coma and [she] has had several brain surgeries," prosecutors said in court papers.

Prosecutors said the girl is now "just learning to feed herself and how to walk" though "her prognosis is uncertain." She remains at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, 1401 S. California Ave.

The update came as a judge set bail for Luis Alberto Pantoja at $2.5 million. At the hearing, prosecutors described a crime that has shocked many on the Northwest Side. The victim was left bleeding from the head and half naked in the snow, prosecutors said.

Pantoja, 25, of the Belmont Cragin neighborhood, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and other charges in the December attack on the girl, who prosecutors described as an honor student.

Pantoja lives about a block and a half from the victim, prosecutors said.

The attack happened shortly after 5 a.m. on Dec. 17, when the girl was walking to the bus stop, prosecutors said. The girl, a sophomore, was on her way to school early to work on a project.

Pantoja allegedly hit her over the head with a blunt object, dragged her to the backyard of a home in the 2400 block of North Long Avenue and raped her.

When the homeowner and police discovered her hours later, the girl was lying half naked in a pool of her own blood, prosecutors said.

At a tense community meeting a few days after the crime, police Supt. Garry McCarthy vowed to "catch this monster."

Pantoja was identified after police matched DNA collected on the scene with Pantoja's existing DNA in a national database, McCarthy said.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that a Kyng brand condom wrapper found at the scene had DNA matching the defendant's. When police searched Pantoja's home, they found more Kyng condoms, prosecutors said, as well as bloodied clothing.

Blood was found on the back door and window of the home where the girl was attacked, and her book bag, keys, gloves and boot were strewn about the backyard. She was suffering from hypothermia and was only able to tell police that she had been on her way to school.

Pantoja appeared in court for a bond hearing on the new charges Tuesday, days after his arrest because officials needed to arrange for a sign-language interpreter to be present.

Pantoja was accused in another attack earlier this year. He was charged with sexual assault a few months prior to his arrest for the alleged rape of the 15-year-old, according to court records.

When he first appeared in court on the case in August, Judge Maria Kuriakos-Ciesil ordered him held on $200,000 bail. But shortly thereafter, Judge Laura Sullivan found no probable cause to detain Pantoja and dismissed the case.

That victim told the Sun-Times that she had a hard time understanding questioning by Pantoja's attorney while on the stand because of a language barrier. She said she asked for an interpreter "but they didn't bring one."

In the most recent case, Pantoja, of the 5500 block of West Wrightwood Avenue, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated criminal assault, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, police said.

Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. set bail for Pantoja at $2.5 million.