The farm. (Jeff Stein/Ithaca Voice)

Dryden, N.Y. — The teenager in Dryden violently assaulted and robbed in late August is a Mexican immigrant and farmhand who was sleeping on a rare night off when the attack occurred, according to his boss.

The teen and a couple other workers at Lew-Lin Farms are responsible for ensuring that the cows are milked in time, the barns are cleaned and that the farm chores are done in time.

The teen is awake most mornings in time to milk the cows at 3 a.m., said Lewis Stuttle, the farm’s owner. The teen is back at work at 11 a.m. He then milks the cows again in the afternoon, and then once more at night.

It’s exhausting, grueling work most Americans are unwilling or unable to do, according to Stuttle.

“You wouldn’t be able to keep up,” Stuttle said, looking The Voice’s reporter up and down from his porch beside the farm.

The farm. (Jeff Stein/Ithaca Voice)

On Aug. 26, the teen again worked during the day. But in the evening he was given a break and allowed to sleep during his usual night shift.

That’s when two men entered his room on Livermore Drive. One man held a dark, semi-automatic pistol, and the other held a folding knife with a green handle.

The robbers woke the teen, hit him in the head and tied him up, according to court documents. One held him down for 10 minutes while another rummaged through his belongings and took more than $1,000.

“As I was on the floor after being tied up the guy from by the door came over and put his knee on my neck and held me down,” the teen later told police in an interview through a translator, according to records.

“Throughout this whole incident I feared for my life.”

Related: Dryden teen was held down for 10 mins during armed robbery – ‘I feared for my life’

Photos from the farm

Whitley C. Taylor, 32, has been arrested for the crime and charged with two counts of second-degree robbery, a felony, and two counts of second-degree burglary.

His listed address is Ithaca, a more than 20 minute drive from the small dwelling out on the rural road where the teen sleeps.

Taylor’s accomplice has not been caught, according to law enforcement. Police are still looking for a second person in the crime, Senior Investigator Jody Coombes of the sheriff’s office said on Thursday.

The two men are also accused of a second attack in Lansing the same night.

Stuttle, the farm’s owner since the 1960s, expressed his disgust at the attack on the helpless teen. It takes the worker about nine days of work to make the amount of money stolen from him.

“They don’t care,” he said of the alleged robbers. “They’re really ruthless.”

Stuttle noted that the teen kept savings in his room at the farm to send back home to Mexico. He hardly leaves the farm.

“We take them to Wal-Mart or the Mexican store or the grocery store every now and again,” Stuttle said. “That’s about it.”

The teen arrived a few months ago, apparently through another one of the workers who has been on Stuttle’s farm. He’s “steady, on time. No problems. You never worry about him not getting up in the morning.”

The teen spent the day after the attack with police investigators. The day after that, he was back at work.

“He hardly missed a turn,” Stuttle said.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.