Cornell grad student charged with killing wife

June 5, 2009 3:19:27 PM PDT
A Cornell University graduate student from New Zealand was charged Friday with murdering his wife, whose body was found along a wooded trail in a state park with her throat slashed. Blazej Kot was charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of 28-year-old Caroline Coffey, a biomedical researcher at the Ivy League university, said Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson.

Kot, 24, tried to kill himself as he was taken into custody late Tuesday, police said. He was in stable condition and under guard Friday at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa., where he was arraigned Thursday night.

Kot was being held without bail pending extradition proceedings, Wilkinson said. His lawyer, Joseph Joch, wasn't available for comment, his law firm said.

Hikers found Coffey's body Wednesday morning along a trail in Taughannock Falls State Park, a short distance from the couple's home in Ithaca, where the Cornell campus is.

Police began searching for her Tuesday night after a chase involving Kot.

A park policeman on routine patrol noticed Kot's car in a closed parking lot and found him covered in blood. Kot drove off and led police on a five-mile chase before crashing into a stand of trees.

He was found with an apparent self-inflicted injury and police had to forcibly take an "edged" weapon from him.

When police went to Kot's apartment, they found that a fire had been set inside and they couldn't locate Coffey.

She grew up in Scranton, Pa., attended Scranton Preparatory School and received a biology degree from the University of Scranton in 2001. She received her doctorate in comparative biomedical sciences from Cornell in 2007, university officials said, and was working as a postdoctoral researcher in biomedical engineering at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Her Web site said she was originally from Dublin, Ireland, and moved to Scranton when she was 2.

Kot, whose hometown in New Zealand wasn't available, was an information science doctoral candidate at Cornell. The couple were married last fall, the officials said.


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