Arrested in attack on Merrimac, MA woman with knife point

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A Merrimac man was arrested at his home Monday night for allegedly waking a 74-year-old woman with a knife on July 3 and repeatedly assaulting her.

Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said William S. Raia, 50, walked into the woman’s home late that evening and woke her up. After the attack, the woman escaped from her home and called the police from a neighboring house, according to Blodgett, who said the man had disappeared from the house when the police arrived.

Raia has been charged with aggravated rape, kidnapping, home burglary, strangulation and assault on an elderly person on four counts.

“While the suspect is in custody, this remains an active investigation. The entire Merrimac Police Department has worked diligently on the investigation since it was reported. I am grateful to them as well as the support of the Essex District Attorney, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab and the Essex State Police Detective Unit, “said Eric Shears, police chief of Merrimac. “I also appreciate the continued support and patience from our community as we worked to identify and arrest the suspect.”

Shears and Blodgett did not disclose whether Raia knew his victim.

Raia is expected to be tried in Newburyport District Court Tuesday.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at [email protected] or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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