NEW YORK – As family and friends prepared to say goodbye to the victim of a brutal slaying, city officials and a Manhattan college are offering more than $40,000 in rewards for information that would help catch the killer of the graduate student from Boston.
A wake for Imette St. Guillen, 24, was scheduled for Friday in Boston, followed by a funeral on Saturday.
Authorities say someone apparently accosted St. Guillen sometime after she left a Lower Manhattan bar, then raped, strangled and suffocated her by wrapping packing tape around her entire face.
Her body was discovered Saturday night, dumped on the side of a remote service road in Brooklyn.
While police have not identified any suspects, they have several leads, and were "trying to track down every one of them," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters on Thursday.
"It's clearly very tragic and our prayers have got to be with the young lady and her family," the mayor added.
The victim's school, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was offering a $30,000 reward comprised of contributions from various donors, said college President Jeremy Travis. The college also has established a memorial scholarship.
The donations "allow us to offer the reward as a tool to assist law enforcement in solving this heinous crime," Travis said in a statement.
An additional $12,000 in reward money — $10,000 from City Hall and $2,000 from the police department's CrimeStoppers program — was announced. Police planned to circulate posters with St. Guillen's photo to publicize the reward.
St. Guillen was killed after going out drinking on the night of Feb. 24 with another woman. At 3:30 a.m. Saturday, the friend decided to go home; a security camera captured footage of the two parting ways outside Pioneer, a bar in the Bowery section of Manhattan.
The friend told police that out of concern she checked on St. Guillen by cell phone about 30 minutes later, reaching her at a second nearby bar, The Falls. In their brief final conversation, the victim said she planned to go home soon.
Nearly 17 hours later, a still-unidentified man called 911 and gave police the location of St. Guillen's body. Police later traced the call to a public phone at a Brooklyn diner, about a mile from where her body, naked and bound with tape, was discovered in a patch of weeds.
Anyone with information was asked to call CrimeStoppers at 800-577-TIPS.