A meat cleaver was recovered from the blood-stained apartment of a New York woman whose dismembered body was stuffed into two suitcases.
Neighbours complained about a foul smell coming from the Brooklyn apartment, the New York Daily News reported.
The 21-year-old woman and her boyfriend were often heard arguing prior to her disappearance.
The victim has not yet been identified but building resident Stephanie Harris told the paper the woman was her friend and had planned to flee a violent relationship in the weeks leading up to her slaying.
She also had an order of protection filed against the man.
“He broke her ribs, her legs, a couple months ago,” Harris told the news outlet. “She came back, she was on crutches. And he broke her apartment down, broke the TVs in her apartment. And I cried to her, like ‘Listen, I don’t want to see you on the news.’
“He always said, ‘The only way you get out is when your mother’s gonna bury you, b—-.’”
Harris recalled another time he beat the victim in the hallway of the building.
Security guards entered the apartment Wednesday to “see blood all over the place” after a man believed to be her boyfriend initially refused to let them inside for a wellness check on the victim, said NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig.
Police sources said the boyfriend and another man fled the building with a duffle bag moments before the woman’s butchered body was discovered.
Both men remain at large.
Harris recounted her friend telling her of her plans to escape.
“She said, ‘I can’t wait to get away… After this year, I’m leaving, I gotta go. I feel like my time is up,’” Harris recalled. “That was two weeks ago, she said that.”
An autopsy is being conducted to determine cause of death.
Harris said the arrival of the building superintendent messed up the boyfriend’s plan of escaping from the scene of the crime with the woman’s remains.
“He thought he was going to get away with it, by putting her in the suitcase and getting rid of it,” said Harris. “If they would’ve never done the wellness check, he probably would have walked out of that building with the suitcases.”
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