DOWNTOWN — A woman slashed herself across the face in front of Trinity Church on Thursday afternoon, then lied, telling police that a man had attacked her and called her a terrorist, NYPD officials said.
The 20-year-old woman of Middle-Eastern descent, whose name was not immediately released, initially told investigators she was walking north on Broadway near Wall Street about 4:20 p.m. when a man grabbed her, turned her around and cut her left cheek, NYPD officials said.
"She reported that when he slashed her, he made a statement to the effect that she was a terrorist," said the NYPD's Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry during a Thursday night press conference.
She had a 2-inch gash across her cheek and was treated at Bellevue Hospital, where her family visited her, police said.
Almost immediately after the incident investigators were suspicious of her story, which was full of inconsistencies, sources said.
Police conducted an "extensive canvas" for video evidence and witnesses to the attack, Aubry said.
Investigators then became concerned about her story after failing to find any video of a suspect or witness.
"We went back inside the building where she goes to school and we saw some blood up on the 15th floor in a bathroom," NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce said at an unrelated press conference Friday.
"We brought her back to the scene and confronted her, and she recanted her allegation. She had made it up.”
Police were not going to charge the young woman, Boyce added.
"Apparently, there are some emotional issues there, so we’re not going to go forward with any kind of charges at this point," the chief said. "It’s a recant right now, and we’re happy that didn’t happen.”
The young woman, who is originally from Egypt, has a history of mental illness, according to Boyce.
She is being psychologically evaluated at Bellevue.