Charges Upgraded Against Couple Accused in Racist Attack on Mystic Hotel Worker

It has been nearly two weeks since Crystal Caldwell, a Mystic hotel worker, said she was assaulted and called a racial slur by two hotel guests.

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The Stonington Police Department announced Friday new charges against two suspects in an assault on a Mystic hotel worker.

Police are searching for two suspects in an attack against Crystal Caldwell, a 59-year-old hotel worker. Philip Sarner and Emily Orbay are accused of attacking Caldwell. Caldwell told NBC Connecticut they also called her a racial slur.

The state's attorney has upgraded the charges against the couple. Sarner faces charges of second-degree assault, third-degree assault, and intimidation based on bigotry and bias. Orbay faces third-degree assault and intimidation based on bigotry and bias.

Authorities have released 911 calls from the incident.

According to the recordings, the first call came from a colleague of Crystal Caldwell at the Quality Inn in Mystic. The woman tells a dispatcher that a guest was "beating up on my desk clerk." She goes on to add, "he is smacking my desk clerk around." Another voice is heard in the background of the call saying, "I want him arrested now."

Moments after receiving that call, dispatchers received another call. One of the hotel guests involved in the assault, who has now been identified as one of the suspects, called police and said, "I was just assaulted by staff." A dispatcher asks how he was assaulted. He replies, "punching my head... It is on camera."

After that call, and as police were on their way to the hotel, the man and the woman he was with were spotted on hotel surveillance video physically assaulting Caldwell for the second time.

The video shows Caldwell getting punched and thrown to the ground. She said that she was not only physically injured, but that the couple also used a racial slur against her.

Police have arrest warrants for Sarner and Orbay. They have no permanent addresses, according to police, but are believed to be from Nassau County in New York. Stonington Police say they are working alongside other law enforcement agencies to find Sarner and Orbay.

According to Caldwell, the incident began over a complaint about hot water. She told NBC Connecticut that the guests were rude on the phone and she hung up. Caldwell said that the next thing she can remember is getting attacked.

After the incident, all three people were taken to local hospitals for treatment. Police said they were unable to monitor the couple due to COVID-19 restrictions. While police said they wanted to arrest the couple on the day of the attack, the couple returned to the hotel from the hospital, got in their car and left the state.

The Stonington police chief has requested an external investigation into the police response and department policies and procedures. An independent law firm will do the review and the results will be shared with the public.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Stonington Police Department.

People are organizing a 'Justice For Crystal' rally Saturday outside of the Stonington Police Department.

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