Queens duffel bag murder mystery leads investigators to Forest Hills Tavern

FOREST HILLS, Queens (WABC) -- The gruesome murder of a mother whose body was found in a duffel bag in Queens, led investigators to a bar that may have been the place where she was last seen alive.

Tavern owners in Forest Hills are telling investigators 51-year-old Orsolya Gaal was a familiar face.

She often met friends for drinks in Forest Hill's business district. In fact, on the night of the murder, she was drinking alone at the Forest Hills Station House, a bar adjacent to the train station.

"Same thing every time, one Moscow mule," bar manager Gabriel Veras said. "She was delightful lady to talk to, real classy."

Veras says Gaal was at the bar the Friday night of her murder, around 11:45 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

"She was here alone, business as usual," Veras said. "Moscow mule, bite to eat, talked with some staff. She was friendly. And when she left alone, it didn't seem like anything was out of the ordinary or unusual."

It may have been the last time she was seen alive.

When she returned to her home, she would be beaten and stabbed to death, then dragged through the neighborhood in a large duffel bag, leaving a trail of blood for blocks before being abandoned alongside the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

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This stock image shows police tape at an active crime scene.


A surveillance image is said to be crucial to the case. It shows a man, believed to be the killer, dragging the bag just before daybreak.

Sources tell Eyewitness News that Gaal had contact with at least three men that night.

One of them was a man who worked on the house, and may emerge as a person of interest in the case.

Investigators believe the killer is someone she knew well. Someone that Gaal had a relationship with, who may have used a key to the back door.

Gaal's husband was out of town with their elder son and their younger son was in an upstairs bedroom at the time of the murder.

The investigation is being headed-up at the 112th Precinct.

Former NYPD chief of detectives Robert Boyce says DNA evidence will likely hold the key to solving the case.

"During violent struggles, more mistakes are made by the perpetrator," Boyce said. "And you might be able to get something to identify that person. So that's very probable, what will happen."

Investigators insist that no one has been identified as a suspect. But that will change as the DNA evidence is processed and analyzed.

There are reward posters now up in her neighborhood, and Crime Stoppers offering $3,500 for information leading to an arrest.

Anyone who may have information to contact the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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