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Suspects in Mystic hotel assault extradited to Connecticut, released on bond

Philip Sarner, and Emily Orbay were processed late Monday night. Early on Tuesday, both were released after satisfying bond. They were appear in court on July 29.

STONINGTON, Conn. — The two people accused of assaulting a hotel worker in Mystic were taken into custody and now have been extradited back to Connecticut.  

The United States Marshall Service and the NYPD took into custody Philip Sarner, 38, and Emily Orbay, 28, in Brooklyn, New York. Sarner and Orbay were extradited to Connecticut by Stonington Police and were processed late Monday night. Early in the morning of Tuesday, July 14, both Sarner and Orbay were released after satisfying their court-set bond and were given a court date of July 29, 2020.

Sarner has been charged with assault in the 2nd and 3rd degrees while Orbay faces two counts of 3rd-degree assault. Both were charged with intimidation based on bigotry and bias. No timetable is set on their extradition back to Connecticut. 

The two are accused of assaulting a hotel worker twice at a Quality Inn around 11:30 am on June 26th. Shortly after the attacks, the victim and the suspects were interviewed by Stonington police but no arrests were made. The victim’s lawyer believes race may have been a factor.  

"There were several witnesses that documented that they were the aggressors," said attorney M. John Strafaciwho represents Crystal Caldwell. 

Caldwell has worked at the front desk of the Mystic Quality Inn for the last seven years. Her attorney says the assault came after Sarner called the front desk to complain about hot water in his room. He is then alleged to have come to confront Caldwell. 

Caldwell's attorney says Sarner and Orbay attacked Caldwell in a hallway. Video captures the second assault on Caldwell five minutes after the first. She was trying to hide from her assailants when they found her.

"If Crystal had been a 59-year-old white lady from Mystic, Connecticut and it was two black individuals that brutally assaulted her, the two black individuals would’ve been arrested on the spot and incarcerated," said Strafaci. 

Stonington Police had interviewed the suspects and victim shortly after the incident before all three went to the hospital. Sarner and Orbey returned to the hotel around 3 pm before heading back to New York. No arrests were made at the time. Warrants for their arrest were issued on July 1st.

"We are so thankful that the marshals picked these people up because it’s certainly some measure of comfort," said Strafaci. 

The comfort comes to Caldwell who has been recovering from injuries she sustained during the attacks. Her attorney says she has a concussion, facial swelling, back, wrist, knee, and lung injuries and is suffering from PTSD.

There has been public outcry over how the Stonington Police handled the initial hours of the investigation prompting a third-party investigation of the incident. 

"I hope that the commissioner actively looks into what happened. Why the suspects were allowed to escape not once but three times," said Stonington resident Douglas Riser.

A Stonington Police Commission meeting was held Monday evening to update the public on the investigation which is still ongoing. 

"If allegations of poor police work for mishandling of this incident go unaddressed, they become the only story," said Commission Chairman Henri Gourd. 

FOX61 reached out to Stonington Police for comment on the initial investigation and the arrest of the suspects but they have not returned comment. 

Strafaci said he and Caldwell appreciate the hard work done by Detective Howard of the Stonington Police who has worked tirelessly on her case.

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