NEW YORK – Police have been questioning a bouncer at the trendy bar where a graduate student was seen hours before her naked body was found, bound and with packaging tape wrapped over her face.
Two law enforcement officials described the 41-year-old man, who has an extensive criminal record, as a potential suspect. The bouncer was on duty at The Falls bar in SoHo when Imette St. Guillen disappeared Feb. 25, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no one had been charged.
Authorities have said they believe someone accosted St. Guillen after she left the bar. There are several security video cameras in the neighborhood, but police haven't found any showing her in the area at closing time.
On Sunday, police officers, some in white laboratory suits, searched the bar and the entire two-story building that houses the bar for evidence.
The building is owned by the family of Geraldine Ferraro, the former Democratic congresswoman, vice presidential candidate and Queens prosecutor.
"They went into the basement, they went on the roof, they went upstairs to the second floor," Ferraro said. "We allowed them total access to anything that they wanted to see."
"I think they went in as much to eliminate any evidence as to search for anything in particular," Ferraro added.
St. Guillen, a student at John Jay School of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, was found dumped on the side of a service road in Brooklyn. The 24-year-old had been raped, strangled and suffocated with the packaging tape that was wrapped around her face.
A $42,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.