Just before she was kidnapped and killed, a suburban teenager called her boyfriend to say she was lost in Manhattan and someone was following her, a law enforcement official said Friday.
Eighteen-year-old Jennifer Moore's cell phone was later used by Draymond Coleman, the drifter charged with her slaying Thursday, said the official, who asked not to be named because the investigation was ongoing.
Coleman, 35, did not speak Friday during a brief appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court, and no plea was entered. Coleman, who has prior arrests for robbery and assault, was ordered held without bail until an Aug. 25 hearing.
"He's not guilty as far as I'm concerned," his attorney, Sidney Luster, said later.
Witnesses said Moore was last seen early Tuesday as she walked alone along a major roadway along Manhattan's west side, wearing a black halter top and white miniskirt. Her body was found Thursday in a trash bin in West New York, N.J.
New York police think Moore was lured or forced into a taxi, taken to a New Jersey motel and strangled, the law enforcement official told the AP. Officials said surveillance video from the motel in Weehawken, N.J., showed Coleman entering the building with Moore early Tuesday, according to reports published Friday.
Coleman, who has no permanent address, was arrested Thursday at a cheap hotel in Manhattan. He is fighting extradition to New Jersey.
A woman believed to be Coleman's girlfriend was charged Friday with hindering his arrest, evidence tampering and prostitution in Hudson County, N.J. Krystal Riordan, 20, of Orange, Conn., was being held on $1 million bail.
No answer after warning
Moore's death followed a night of partying with a friend that ended at the Guest House, a nightclub complex in Manhattan's trendy Chelsea neighborhood. Police describe the complex as a magnet for trouble, with reports of drug dealing, robbery and assault.
After discovering that their car had been towed, Moore accompanied a friend to the city tow pound, but Moore's friend passed out and had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital. Moore stayed behind.
Moore called her boyfriend on her cell phone about 5 a.m. and said someone was following her, the law enforcement official told the AP. He reportedly told her to call a taxi, and when he tried to call her back a short time later, there was no answer.
Later, the suspect used the same cell phone to call a woman staying at the hotel to come down and pay for the taxi when they arrived, the official said. Authorities described the woman as a prostitute who worked for Coleman.
‘Wrong place, wrong time’
A woman who answered the phone at the Riordan home in Connecticut said Krystal Riordan "wouldn't do something like this." The woman identified herself only as Riordan's adopted sister and said she had been instructed not to talk about the case.
Hugh Moore described his daughter as "smart and bright and funny."
"Wrong place, wrong time. It could happen to anybody," he said outside the family home in Harrington Park, N.J.
Moore graduated from high school in May and was enrolled at the University of Hartford for the fall, her father said.