Cops Eye Bouncer In N.Y. Student Slay

The yearbook photo provided by Boston Latin High School shows Imette St. Guillen, a graduate honors student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who was found strangled Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006, in Brooklyn. AP

Police with a search warrant have taken several bags of material from the Manhattan bar where slain graduate student Imette St. Guillen last was seen alive.

Police have also questioned the bouncer at the bar, WCBS reporter Wendy Gillette reports, and are calling the man a potential suspect.

The potential suspect is a 41-year-old ex-con who has an extensive criminal record and is still on parole for a robbery rap, the New York Post reports. He was being questioned last night at the 75th Precinct stationhouse in Brooklyn, and had been questioned by detectives previously in the investigation, according to The New York Times.

Officers searched for evidence for several hours at The Falls, the Bowery drinking spot the woman visited before she vanished in the early hours of Feb. 25. A lawyer for the owner of The Falls called detectives over the weekend and told them he had information about St. Guillen's last steps, sources told the Post.

After questioning, police learned that the bouncer left with the young woman and never returned. He was on duty at The Falls bar when St. Guillen disappeared Feb. 25, law enforcement officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no one had been charged.

The police have also searched a commercial space above the bar for the first time, as well as the hallways, basement and roof, the Times reports.

Police brought plastic bags in and out of the door, and a detective appeared to show a picture taken with a digital camera to other officers. Investigators were looking into whether the inner doorway — which is kept locked and alarmed — and staircase were somehow used by the killer after snatching St. Guillen, Gillette reports.

The family of Geraldine A. Ferraro, the former Democratic congresswoman and vice presidential candidate, has an interest in the office space and the rest of the building. Ms. Ferraro told the New York Times last night that her family had given the police permission to search.

"We are anxious to help them if at all possible to find out who did this terrible, terrible crime," she said. "We said absolutely yes," she said, referring to the police request. "Anything you want to do, you can do."

"I think they went in as much to eliminate any evidence as to search for anything in particular," Ferraro tells The Associated Press.

Authorities believe someone accosted the woman after she left the bar. Police have studied several security video cameras in the neighborhood but haven't found any showing her in the area at closing time.

The bouncer was seen speaking to St. Guillen in the bar before she disappeared about 4 a.m. on Feb. 25 — and cell phone records place the Queens man in Brooklyn about 6 a.m. near where St. Guillen's body was found, sources tell the New York Daily News.

Late Saturday, authorities received an anonymous 911 call from a man who gave the location of St. Guillen's body, and nothing more. Police traced the call to a public phone at a diner about a mile from where the body was discovered in a patch of weeds, and six miles from where she was last seen alive.

The 24-year-old criminal justice student from Boston was and suffocated with packaging tape. Her body was found dumped on the side of a desolate service road in Brooklyn.
  • Sean Alfano

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