An aspiring actor and graduate student has been hospitalized with brain trauma after a mysterious attack that his family suspects happened in the New York City subway system.
Jay Reist, 29, a Columbia University graduate, left the Dream Baby bar around 1am on July 21 and was later seen walking up the subway stairs at Eighth Avenue and 15th Street, sources told the New York Post. He was also spotted getting into an Uber just before 2.15am.
Reist was ‘brutally attacked’ and ‘has suffered multiple severe brain injuries, swelling and seizures due to the attack’, according to a GoFundMe page set up for him. He has been intubated in an intensive care unit for patients with neurological problems.
‘Jay is our most extraordinary friend, student, son and classmate,’ it reads. ‘We love Jay so much, and are heartbroken.’
An update on the fundraiser on Sunday states: ‘Good news is no change. Though still in ICU, his brain is stable, fighting pneumonia from and continually trying to lessen the sedation to hopefully wake him up soon! Please keep Jay in your thoughts.’
Reist remains at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights.
His mother, Louise Reist, thinks he was attacked in the subway based on his appearance after the incident.
‘He was a covered in dirt. His hat and his clothes. And under his nails. But it’s that grimy kind of street dirt, so it’s more consistent with a filthy subway or subway station,’ she told CBS News.
‘The doctors know with certainty that he was hit on the top right back of his head with a very heavy object.’
But police have not confirmed that he was attacked in the transit system. Investigators are canvassing the area for surveillance footage.
His sister, Lisa Reist, wondered if he was targeted because of his sexual orientation.
‘He’s gay and genderqueer, so we don’t know if it was related to that,’ she told CBS. ‘He dances. He acts. He just has so much talent. He’s a really supportive sibling, like, we’re really close.’