Tessa Majors

Teen Wanted in Tessa Majors Murder Is Found, Questioned and Released, NYPD Says

Police believe at least three teenagers were in some way involved with the Barnard College freshman's killing in Morningside Park

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What to Know

  • Tessa Majors was a freshman at Barnard College when she was stabbed in Morningside Park in what police say was a robbery
  • The 18-year-old fought off her attackers as best she could, biting one of them on the finger
  • One teen has been charged and police have been trying to identify all the people allegedly involved in the attack

The teenager wanted for questioning in the Manhattan park murder of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors has been found, questioned and released, authorities said in a tweet Thursday.

A photo tweeted out by police with the announcement matches an image of a 14-year-old boy authorities had released earlier in the investigation in their quest to question him. Calling the apprehension a "significant development in the investigative process," Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison tweeted that the boy was in custody and his attorneys were present at the 26th precinct "for the entire investigative process." Law enforcement sources said he was picked up in the Bronx; it wasn't clear if any charges would be filed.

A police spokesman declined to provide details, saying "the investigation remains active and ongoing."

A spokesman for Neighborhood Defender Service confirmed that the organization is providing the boy with legal representation but declined to comment further.

The boy's name has not been released, with police taking the unusual step on December 20 of releasing photographs of him but not his name or any other identifying information. Investigators have said they believe he and at least two other teens were involved in Majors' death in Morningside Park earlier this month.

The teenager wanted for questioning in the Manhattan park murder of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors has been located, authorities said in a tweet Thursday.

A 13-year-old is already in custody and facing charges in the murder. Another 14-year-old was questioned and released as police tried to find additional evidence. A manhunt had been underway for the third teen.

Majors was in the park just before 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 when, according to the NYPD, she was a victim of a "robbery gone wrong."

A law enforcement source said a witness saw a group of people running from where the attack happened and a 13-year-old boy has been charged with second-degree murder.

The first-year student was walking through Morningside Park when she was stabbed in an apparent robbery. She stumbled up some stairs where she was found by a security guard, and later died. NBC New York's Ida Siegal reports.

In a hearing for the 13-year-old, police described how the group of teenagers put Majors in a chokehold and removed items from her pockets. The college freshman was able to fight back, biting one of her attackers on the finger, police said.

The teen that had been charged said he watched his friend slash Majors with a knife, according to a detective's testimony.

Detectives say the charged teen watched as Majors was stabbed at the base of the steps, feathers coming out of her jacket as she struggled to fight back. She was stabbed multiple times and managed to stagger out of the park to find a security guard for help. Majors died at a hospital.

In a statement earlier this month, Majors' family said they want to know "what exactly happened to Tess and who committed her murder. We believe, for the immediate safety of the community and the surrounding schools, that should be everyone’s top priority and we are grateful to the men and women of the NYPD for all of their efforts."

In the wake of Majors' death, Barnard and Columbia faculty have reported receiving "abhorrent and viciously racist" robocall messages from a white supremacist organization, and a Connecticut man was arrested after police say he posted online that he was going to kill the suspected stabber.

As police questioned and released two teenagers in connection to the stabbing death of Tess Majors, the community gathered to remember her and wonder how this could have happened. NBC New York’s Ray Villeda reports.

Police immediately stepped up security in the park area after Majors died. Crime statistics show more robberies were reported in Morningside Park this year than in any other park in the city.

Majors' death has troubled city and college leaders, both for its proximity to campus and its apparent randomness.

Some city leaders have urged police to use caution in investigating Majors' death to avoid repeating mistakes made with the Central Park Five — a group of five black and Hispanic teens wrongfully convicted of a 1989 rape.

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