Charges upgraded in rape slay

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Funeral arrangements were set for the young Chinese immigrant who was brutally attacked and killed on the streets of Flushing last month.

Yu Yao, 23, was allegedly raped and beaten to death by Carlos Salazar Cruz, 28, with a metal pipe on a populated Flushing street the night of May 16, according to police.

Her funeral was to take place this Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at Chun Fook Funeral Services at 134-35 Northern Blvd. in Flushing.

Yao’s mother, Guihua Yu, 55, knew only that her daughter was in the hospital when she arrived May 24 at Newark Liberty Airport on a visa arranged by state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside).

She has had difficulty accepting the fact that her daughter was killed in the horrific back-alley murder, refusing to leave the coroner’s office when she went there the following day to identify the body. She will say goodbye to her during the funeral.

Yu and her family have been an emotional mess since her death, and the distraught mother vented her rage toward Cruz during a court appearance Tuesday morning, according to Meng.

“I want to kill you! I want my daughter back!” she screamed repeatedly at the Mexican immigrant in Mandarin, according to Meng.

After the outburst, she was dragged out of the Queens Supreme Court building by two court officers. She then fainted and was taken from the premises in an ambulance, according to Meng.

The most serious charge against Cruz was upgraded from attempted murder to second-degree murder during the short hearing, as Yao was still clinging to life when he was originally charged May 17. After the attack, Yao was rushed to New York Hospital Queens, where she remained brain dead in a coma until she was taken off life support May 21.

Yao had only been in the United States for two months at the time of her murder and she had found a home on Maple Avenue just 20 days before she died, according to police.

She had been grocery shopping and was walking toward Main Street on 41st Road with bags of groceries when Cruz allegedly dragged her into an alley, removed her clothing from the waist down, raped her with the metal pipe and beat her to death, according to court papers.

The man who reported the crime called first at 9:27 p.m., then at least once more, according to police, who said a short foot pursuit took place before Cruz, who has no criminal record, was arrested. The pipe was recovered a block from the alley, police said.

Police said Cruz was so drunk at the time of his arrest he did not even know how he got to Main Street and Meng said police told her he had to be taken to the hospital and handcuffed to a bed until he sobered up. Police eventually booked Cruz at 2 p.m. Monday, according to court papers.

For more information about Yao’s funeral arrangements, call Chun Fook Funeral Services at 718-353-2218.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 5:46 pm, October 10, 2011
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