Just as so many other young adults have done, Caroline Isenberg (right), 23, came to the city to be an actress.
A Harvard grad who scored a small role in a TV movie during college, Isenberg enrolled in drama school and moved into an apartment at 929 West End Avenue, near 106th Street.
Today this Morningside Heights neighborhood looks safe. But in 1984, when she signed a lease, it had rougher edges. Reportedly, the building’s front door lock was frequently broken.
Early in the morning on December 2, 1984, Isenberg returned home by herself after seeing a Broadway play.
As she entered her building, someone accosted her, forced her into the elevator, and took her to the roof, cops later determined.
There, she resisted her attacker’s sexual advances and robbery attempt and was stabbed nine times.
Her assailant locked the rooftop door and fled, leaving her dying on the rooftop and screaming for help.
“Her cries awakened the neighborhood and neighbors rushed to help her,” The New York Times reported.
Isenberg was brought to St. Luke’s Hospital. Remarkably, she was able to talk to police officers and doctors and give a quick description of her attacker before her life ended on the operating table hours later.
“All this for $12,” she told the doctors trying to save her. “I should have given him the money. I should have let him do it.”
It didn’t take long for police to arrest Emmanuel Torres (right), son of the building’s super.
Detectives reportedly said that Torres, 22, didn’t target Isenberg. But he’d planned to mug someone—and that mugging escalated into attempted rape, then murder.
Found guilty of murder in 1985, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Isenberg’s murder was big news at the time, and it prompted the 1980s band The Alarm to pen a (pretty terrible) song about her.
[Bottom photo: AP]