NEW YORK — Imette St. Guillen, a graduate student on the dean’s list, suffered the sort of gruesome death typically reserved for drug dealers or mobsters who cross the boss.
St. Guillen, 24, was raped, strangled and left on the side of a remote road in Brooklyn. Packing tape masked her entire face. A sock had been stuffed in her mouth, and her body was wrapped in a floral bedspread.
St. Guillen’s genitals had been lacerated and hair was cut short, MSNBC’s Dan Abrams reported on Wednesday.
The slaying Saturday blindsided her family in Boston and alarmed investigators, who fear her killer may strike again.
Police have been studying security tapes from the area where St. Guillen spent her last night out with friends.
One tape shows the victim, Imette St. Guillen, talking to a female friend about 3 a.m. Saturday outside a Manhattan bar. The two can be seen parting ways, with the friend leaving by cab, police said.
Criminal justice student
St. Guillen, who would have turned 25 on Thursday, had been set to graduate this semester from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. She graduated with honors from George Washington University in Washington.
“She was kind, she was loving and she wouldn’t hurt anyone,” her mother, Maureen, said Tuesday outside her Boston home.
Investigators theorize the killer was a stranger who lured St. Guillen out of The Falls, the lower Manhattan bar where she was last seen early Saturday. But no suspects have been identified.
St. Guillen had been at The Pioneer, another bar, with a friend, earlier in the evening, investigators said. The two separated and St. Guillen’s friend Claire Higgins called her around 3:30 a.m. to check up on her.
“I'm in another bar,” St. Guillen told Higgins, according to the New York Post. She said she would be home later.
Later Saturday, authorities received an anonymous 911 call from a man who gave the location of St. Guillen’s body — and nothing more. Police traced the call to a public phone at a diner about a mile from where the body was discovered in a patch of weeds, and six miles from where she was last seen alive.
Quilt could be key to investigation
Investigators have tried to locate the caller, thinking he may have been involved in the crime and called out of remorse. They also have canvassed motels and hotels, believing the fitted, king-size floral bedspread wrapped around the body could have come from one of them. So far, neither lead has panned out.
Police told the New York Post that several of St. Guillen’s fingernails were ripped, an indication she desperately fought to fend off her assailant.
St. Guillen’s family has appealed for the public’s help in finding the killer.
“She was a beautiful girl, I mean beautiful inside also,” her mother said.
“She deserves to have this person or people be brought to justice,” St. Guillen’s sister Alejandra told MSNBC’s Rita Cosby on Tuesday. “If this had happened to somebody else, and she had seen anything, she would come forward.”
The Associated Press, the New York Post, and MSNBC's Dan Abrams and Rita Cosby contributed to this report.