Hospital Patient Shows Up At NJ Nurse's House, Tries Kidnapping Her, Police Say

A hospital patient from Lakewood showed up at the house of a nurse who cared for him the previous night and tried kidnapping her as she and her mother defended themselves with a knife, authorities said.

Howell Police Sgt. Bondarew and K9 partner Vito take down Leonardo Larrarte.
Howell Police Sgt. Bondarew and K9 partner Vito take down Leonardo Larrarte. Photo Credit: Howell PD

Leonardo Larrarte, 37, knocked on the door of the nurse's home on Newton’s Corner Road in the Ramtown section of Howell just before 3:30 p.m. Friday, police said in a statement.

The nurse came downstairs when she heard the knocking to discover her 64-year-old mom had let the man inside, police said. She quickly recognized Larrarte as her patient from the previous evening and demanded he leave, according to authorities.

Larrarte refused, assaulted the nurse's mom and then the nurse -- demanding she go with him or he'd kill her mom, police said in a statement.

"The victim grabbed a knife from the kitchen and attempted to defend herself by stabbing the suspect," Howell police said. "The suspect was able to avoid being stabbed but continued to punch and choke the victim."

Police responding to the scene thanks to several 9-1-1 calls placed by neighbors and the nurse's friend upstairs found the nurse, who works at Monmouth Medical Center Kimball, outside holding ice to her bleeding face with torn clothes.

Howell Police Sgt. Bondarew and his K-9 partner Vito located the suspect matching the description a short distance away.

He was taken into custody without resistance and charged with kidnapping, burglary, terroristic threats, drug possession and assault.

It is unclear how Larrarte found the nurse's address. Police were analyzing two seized cell phones and Larrarte gave a statement implicating himself. He remained jailed Sunday night pending two court appearances.

The victim and her mother were treated and released from the hospital.

“Our homes are our sanctuary," Howell Police Chief Kudrick said. "A place that should always be safe. No one should have to go through such a traumatic, life altering incident such as this. Fortunately, she fought back and refused to quit. As a result she survived. Predators such as Larrarte should never be allowed to see another day of freedom to victimize another innocent person."

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