Imette’s Killer: Travelin’ Man

I’m going to make what some might consider a huge leap in comparing the gruesome murder of Imette St. Guillen in New York to the “Intolerable Killings” in the bordertown of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. In doing so, I suppose I risk becoming the laughing stock of bloggerdom, but that’s okay. I’m not really a blogger anyway; remember?

I first learned of this crime on Tuesday evening when Imette’s sister, Alejandra, and mother, Maureen, appeared on a cable news program to share the heartbreak of their loss and ask for the public’s help in bringing her murderer to justice. The details of her assault and murder brought to mind a sexually sadistic serial killer. Next morning, I Googled her name and learned that investigators had been unable to find any other similar crimes to tie the murder to, even though they believe this man has probably committed such an assault — if not murder — before and will likely kill again if not apprehended. Of course, I had to disregard their inability to link Imette’s murder to others and try to figure it out for myself. So now, I set about destroying any credibility I might have as a discerning and rational thinker. Bear with me.

Last Friday night, February 24, Imette St. Guillen went out to a trendy bar in lower Manhattan with a few of her girlfriends. At about 3:30 am, the last of her friends was ready to go home, but Imette was unwilling to leave. Claire and Imette argued briefly outside Pioneer, at 218 Bowery, before the two parted company, and the former left in a cab. Approximately twenty minutes later, a concerned Claire called Imette’s cell phone:

Higgins: Where are you?

St. Guillen: I’m in another bar.

Higgins: When are you going home?

St. Guillen: Later. I’ll be home later.

It’s since been reported that Imette sat alone at the bar in The Falls, at 218 Lafayette, just a few blocks from Pioneer, before reading a scrap of paper from her purse and exiting the bar alone at about 4:00 am. Interesting, though most likely irrelevant, is the fact that The Falls is owned by the same folks who own Darrien’s Red Hand, the bar chosen by Jennifer Levin for her last night of partying before being brutally slain by Robert Chambers, the “Preppie Killer”. Police were led to St. Guillen’s body by an anonymous male caller who dialed 911 from a payphone outside a Brooklyn diner; they’re anxious to talk to the man again, believing that he might have firsthand knowledge of the crime.

Operator: “Hello, 911.”

Caller: “I think there’s a body over at Fountain and Seaview.”

Operator: “How do you know? What did you see?”

Caller: “It looks like a body. You should send someone to take a look at it.”

The tipster then hung up.

Investigators are still searching for clues to the identity of Imette’s killer, but it is believed that he may have taken her to a cheap motel where he brutalized, suffocated and strangled her before dumping her nude body, wrapped in a floral bedspread, along the roadside near Spring Creek Park just off the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn — a notorious gangland dumping ground. A sock was stuffed in Imette’s mouth, her long dark hair was chopped off, and her face was covered with strips of translucent, beige packing tape, prompting some in the media to dub her attacker “The Mummy Maniac”. An autopsy revealed ghastly injuries indicating that Imette suffered a savage and sadistic sexual assualt before her death. In addition, her fingernails were broken, her hands bloodied, and there were wounds to her chest. Her feet were bound with shoelaces and her hands with plastic ties. I’ll leave the profiling to the experts, but I would expect that her killer bears the marks of Imette’s fight for life on his face, neck and arms.

Over the last 12 years, hundreds of young women have been abducted and murdered in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. In the majority of cases, the bodies show signs of sexual assault and strangulation. In some cases there are similarities to the condition of Imette’s body — evidence of torture, injuries to the breasts, and the hands and/or feet bound with shoelaces. Often the bodies have been found in notorious gangster dumping grounds — many of them in an area called Lote Bravo (Brave Lot). Several of the victims were students with connections to two Mexican computer school chains — Grupo Premier and Grupo Pionero. The remains of two of those young ladies were found along thoroughfares bearing the name Aldama (“to the lady”), though in different cities. Both organizations are widespread national chains that locate their computer schools in the busy downtown areas of Mexican cities. What caught my eye was the coincidence of the name Pionero.

Most recently in Ciudad Juárez, on February 24, Margarita Cardoza Carrasco, age 74, and her adopted daughter, Luisa Lorena Hernandez Carrasco, age 27, were found murdered in the bathroom of their home by the elder woman’s grandson. It appears that the women were killed with a knife. The hands and feet of both women were bound and Luisa’s face was covered with some sort of bandage. [LINK 1 LINK 2]

On Friday, March 3, Amnesty International and Mexico Solidarity Network are co-sponsoring an event to bring awareness to the public about the continuing murders of the women of Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico. It will take place this evening at Judson Memorial Church, 239 Thompson Street, in lower Manhattan, less than a mile away from the two nightspots where Imette St. Guillen was last seen alive.

Okay, I’ll admit that it’s not all that likely that the “Mummy Maniac” traveled from Juárez, Mexico to New York to visit his sadistic skills on a young woman he took notice of in the Pioneer bar. It’s a scenario more suited to a Hollywood spine-tingler than real life. The circumstances of Imette’s abduction seem more in line with a random selection of victim. However, given the facts of Imette’s status as a graduate student of forensic psychology and criminal justice and the horrific details of her murder, it doesn’t seem prudent to rule out the possibility that Imette was specifically targeted and stalked by someone waiting for the opportunity presented last Friday night. I can’t help but wonder if she had shown an interest in the serial killer terrorizing Juárez for the last decade.

My imagination would like to go further with this theory, but I think I’d better restrain myself for now. What I’ve written so far has opened me up to enough scoffing from readers. I’ve had this entry in draft for two and a half days, trying to work up the nerve to publish it. Now I’ve just seen on Fox News that the FBI is searching nationwide for Imette St. Guillen’s killer. Maybe my theory isn’t so ridiculous after all.

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