msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/23/2010 5:28:02 AM ET 2010-12-23T10:28:02

Police are searching for a man recorded in a surveillance video on a dark New York City street wheeling a suitcase that later was found stuffed with a strangled woman's body.

The video shows the man rolling the luggage in East Harlem late Tuesday before pausing outside a building. The man looks around and then walks out of the camera's view, taking the suitcase with him.

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A passer-by found the suitcase and the body soon after, outside a nearby building about a block from Rao's, a well-regarded Italian restaurant founded in 1896.

Police say the woman in the suitcase was black and she appeared to have suffered a head injury.

Citing sources, the New York Post identified the victim as Betty Williams, 28.

According to the newspaper, area resident Jody White found the suitcase.

"I unzipped it and saw it was a body," the 32-year-old said. "I just saw from the knee down."

The medical examiner's office said the cause of the woman's death was neck compression. The death has been ruled a homicide.

The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

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