Officials are working desperately to get a visa for the woman's mother, who lives outside Beijing, so she can come to Queens to face the awful task of deciding her daughter's fate.
The young woman was returning from grocery shopping in downtown Flushing around 9:30 p.m. Saturday when a drunken Queens man smashed her in the head with a pipe and dragged her into an alley, authorities said.
Once inside the alley along 41st Road, Carlos Salazar Cruz, 28, removed the woman's clothing from the waist down and raped her with the pipe, according to court papers.
Two months ago, the young woman, who dreamed of becoming a lawyer, traveled from her native China on a student visa. She moved in with a distant uncle in Flushing.
"She was working in a nail salon, saving up money. She was going to start attending school," said Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing). "She had good grades in China. That's why her parents wanted her to come and expand her horizons."
Now, the woman who once dreamed of a better future is in the intensive care unit at New York Hospital Queens. She suffered a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and trauma to her vaginal area.
Meng said she and Rep. Gary Ackerman (R-Bayside) are working to expedite a visa for the woman's mother. Cops collared Cruz a few blocks from the crime scene after a witness, who saw him drag the woman into the alley and then emerge alone - called 911. Police later recovered the pipe about a block from the alley.
He was arraigned late Tuesday on a slew of charges, including a top count of attempted murder. Prosecutors vowed to upgrade charges if the woman is removed from life-support.
Cruz's family said he claims he blacked out drunk and doesn't remember the incident.
"He woke up and found himself cuffed to the hospital bed," said his stunned sister, Patricia Salazar, 26. "He never acted violently....We just don't know why he would do this. We can't explain it."