Police: Woman murdered, then set on fire in East Harlem apartment building

Tuesday, May 09, 2017 04:35PM
Tim Fleischer has more from East Harlem.


EAST HARLEM, Manhattan - Firefighters responding to an apartment fire in East Harlem Tuesday morning discovered the body of a woman who was badly burned.

Police believe she was murdered in a building on Park Avenue, then dragged to another building and set on fire.

Firefighters found the body in a ninth-floor stairwell of the East 105th Street building at 6:45 a.m.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 27-year-old man who police called a suspect was taken out of a building in the Clinton Houses after authorities said he attempted suicide while holding police at bay.

"We sent the emergency services up there, we encountered a man who attempted suicide," Manhattan North Chief of Detectives Christopher McCormick said. "Emergency service responded. They contacted the person. They rendered him aid and saved him."

Investigators believe the woman's body was dragged in a plastic bag across the street.

"The fire department responded, they put the fire out," McCormick said. "Inside a black garbage bag was the body of a female."

Authorities have not identified the man, but his sister defended him.

"My brother tried to harm himself," Jacquline Thomas said. "He did no wrong...they did nothing wrong. And I promise you, we are going to get to the bottom of this."

Three others inside the apartment -- an older female and two children -- were not hurt.

The victim has also not been identified, and it authorities continue to look for a possible motive.
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