Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Beast May Strike Again


The twisted sex fiend who tortured, raped and killed a beautiful criminology student - covering her face with strips of clear tape - likely chose his prey at random, police sources warned yesterday.

And based on the sicko's psychiatric profile, experts fear the mummy maniac may kill again.

Investigators do not have a suspect in the horrific killing of Imette St. Guillen, a 24-year-old graduate student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice whose nude body was dumped in Brooklyn with her head wrapped with strips of packing tape. "We have a feeling it is random, not someone she knew," a source told the Daily News.

Cops have ruled out men she dated in New York - including ex-beau Ryan Kocher, 22 - and in her hometown of Boston and believe she was murdered Saturday by a single attacker who only met her a few hours before he killed her, sources said.

Police are eager to track down the anonymous man who called 911 and told authorities where St. Guillen's body was, said the sources, who believe the caller may have been involved in the slaying.

The stunning new details of the probe emerged as forensic profilers said the killer was likely acting out his sick fantasies - and warned that unless he is caught he'll try to murder again.

"He may have killed before. This is pretty strong for a first offense," said Vernon Geberth, a former NYPD homicide commander who wrote a textbook on investigating sex-related murders. "You're dealing with a psychopathic sexual sadist. These people will kill again."

St. Guillen's battered face and nude body bore the signs of a sexually deviant murderer: She was raped, sodomized and suffocated. Her dark hair was chopped short, her genitals sliced and a tube sock jammed down her throat, sources said. The killer also covered her terrified face with vertical strips of clear packing tape from forehead to chin, sources said.

Forensic experts said the tape could be a sign that her attacker was acting out fantasies of bondage, control and rage. "You can still see the face," forensic psychologist Marta Weber said. "That's important. Why is the face being preserved? Is it to see the person in agony?"

But the tape itself may have preserved clues that could lead to the murderer's capture, said Michael Baden, New York's former chief medical examiner, who stars in HBO's "Autopsy." "Tape is wonderful at preserving evidence - fingerprints, hairs, .fibers," Baden said. "Tape preserves this, especially on the sticky side, even if the body's been out there for a year."

St. Guillen, a budding forensic investigator who lived on the upper West Side, was last seen at the Bowery's trendy Pioneer Bar at 3:40 a.m. Saturday. She had been drinking with a high school pal from Boston. St. Guillen left the bar with the friend and then the women parted ways, sources said.

St. Guillen got a cell phone call sometime after 3:40 a.m. from a friend who had gone home earlier. She told the friend she was fine and at another bar, police sources said. The unidentified friend told cops she could hear music playing in the background, a source said.

The NYPD released photos yesterday of the garish bedspread that the killer wrapped around St. Guillen's brutalized body before dumping her along a desolate Brooklyn street, just off a Belt Parkway exit.

The polyester and cotton quilt, the type commonly found in motels, was likely made at least 10 years ago, according to its manufacturer. Cops are hoping someone will recognize its distinct floral pattern.

"We don't know where it comes from," a source said. "Maybe some chambermaid will see it and recognize it."

Cops found St. Guillen's body laying in the weeds off Fountain Ave. shortly before 9 p.m. after an anonymous man called 911 from a phone in front of the Lindenwood Diner on Linden Blvd. Sources said cops plan to play the 911 tape for St. Guillen's family in case they recognize the caller's voice.

Cops have subpoenaed her cell phone records to try to retrace her movements.

Investigators also are trying to pull fingerprints from the tape and hope to have results as soon as today from tests conducted on DNA evidence recovered from her body.

With Nancy Dillon, Carrie Melago and Michael Saul

Copyright © 2006 Daily News

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