April 23, 2019 | 61° F

South Amboy resident left comatose after being punched near Rutgers

A girl visiting Rutgers for Halloween weekend is now in a life-threatening coma after a man knocked her unconscious in a physical altercation.

Emily Rand, of South Amboy, was at a party on Oct. 29 with her friends when a group of men began catcalling them, said Beth Noble, a friend of the victim. The situation escalated to a physical fight.

A Snapchat video being circulated on social media shows Rand joining the fight and throwing a punch before she is knocked unconscious and falls to the ground. Afterward, the man flees the scene.

Police then showed up to the party on Robinson Street, causing the crowd to disperse, Noble said.

“Everyone ran, leaving her on the ground,” she said. “There were random students that stayed by her. I don’t know who they are and haven’t received any word of who they are, but I’m grateful for them.”

Rand is suffering a fractured skull, brain bleed and a serious concussion. She is connected to 11 machines and underwent surgery over the weekend to remove a piece of her skull due to the swelling of her brain.

“She’s in very bad condition and we’re all praying for her recovery,” she said.

Her aunt, Debbie O’Connor, uploaded a now-viral Facebook post, pleading for information on the man who punched Rand and urging those with descriptions to come forward.

“Don’t let this person get away with it. He was 'man' enough to hit her, he should be man enough to be held accountable,” she wrote in the post.

O’Connor told New Jersey 101.5 that her niece has not shown any signs of improvement.

“Hopefully, she’ll wake up, but we don’t know yet,” O’Connor said. “They say she’s going to need rehab and in a month or two, they’ll have to put that piece (of her skull) back if she recovers.”

Her brother, Chris Rand, said although the Facebook post indicated they are looking for a man named Chris, the family believes a person named Dan Murray is responsible for punching her.

Chris Rand shared a post in which Murray’s alleged girlfriend brags about how Murray hit Emily Rand. The brother said via Facebook messenger that Murray has not yet been charged.

“(Doctors) are being positive ... it’s just going to take a while with all the pain and trauma she has been in,” he said.

Chris Rand said O’Connor may press charges but is still unsure.

Emily Rand is a student at Middlesex County College and works at Macaroni Grill in Edison. She remains unconscious as of Monday at Robert Wood University Medical Center.

The suspect is described as having a shorter build, New Jersey 101.5 reported. At the time, the man was wearing a gray sweatshirt and a black baseball cap. New Brunswick Police Department urges those with information about the incident to call (732) 745-5200.

O’Connor has created a GoFundMe page to fundraise for Rand’s medical expenses.

Sophie Nieto-Munoz is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and Italian. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. You can find her on Twitter @snietomunoz for more.

Sophie Nieto-Munoz

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