Alleged ‘Fairmount Park rapist’ charged in 2003 rape, murder of medical student Rebecca Park

A man accused of slashing people with a large knife while riding a bicycle on a trail in Philadelphia in recent weeks has been formally charged in the cold-case rape and slaying of a medical student that occurred among a series of high-profile sexual assaults in a large city park two decades ago.

Elias Diaz, 46, was arraigned Wednesday on murder, rape and other counts in the 2003 slaying of Rebecca Park. He was ordered held without bail pending a Jan. 8 preliminary hearing. He had been held on aggravated assault and other counts in the attacks or attempted attacks in late November and early December, where police say he used a machete-type knife against people on the Pennypack Park trail in northeast Philadelphia.

The Defender Association of Philadelphia, listed as representing him in both the 2003 case and the recent attacks, declined comment earlier on all charges.

  • December 20, 2023
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