New York City is now considered the safest large city in the U.S. The New York Times recently reported:
Homicide figures for New York City show that the number of murders in 2005 may fall below 500, a figure that would be the fewest since 1961 and would bring the city's murder rate below the rate for the nation as a whole. So far this year, random murders and murders committed during robberies and burglaries have also declined. Experts note that both declines appear to be largely attributable to a greater police presence, fewer guns, and the decrease in random violence in the city that came with the waning of the crack epidemic. In Manhattan, the annual number of murders recently dipped below 100 for the first time since the 19th century.So the bizarre unsolved murder of Juilliard School student, Sarah Fox, is a very sad and painful reminder that New York City has at least one psycho killer walking its safer streets. Ironically, the cops and DA think they know who the killer is, but they don't have the evidence to prosecute the case.
Fox's body was stripped of clothes and left in a "posed" position with tulip-tree blossoms sprinkled around it in May 2004 in a heavily wooded section of Inwood Hill Park in northern Manhattan. The Fox case initially received a fair amount of press attention, certainly to some extent, because Sarah Fox was young, white and attractive.
However, that press coverage has now long since moved on to the next hot new crime story. That crime story is currently the fake fireman, Peter Braunstein, Halloween rape case. Crime blogger, Steve Huff, was recently in New York to tape a segment for NBC's, Dateline regarding the Braunstein case. The night of November 27th when Steve was in New York another mysterious murder of a young attractive women took place. WCBS TV reported it this way:
The victim, Catherine Woods, was found on the floor of her bedroom apartment at 355 East 86th Street, where she lived with her boyfriend David Haughn.Steve went on to say:
It was around 7 p.m. Sunday when Haughn called police to say he had found Woods, wearing a jogging suit, lying face-down in a pool of blood in their bedroom. Neighbors had heard screaming. Woods' neck and hand were cut (...)
Woods was from Columbus, Ohio, where her father, Jon Woods, directs The Ohio State University marching band. "She danced since she was three," Woods says. "She went to New York to pursue her dream."
What the family may not have known, was that the dancing included some racy stuff. Anthony Regina says Woods worked at the men's club "Privileges" on West 23rd Street, as an exotic dancer...
Catherine Woods's brief life, beauty, and apparent promise are perhaps presaging her murder, if it isn't solved soon, becoming the next big crime news to come out of the City.Back in May on the one year anniversary of her disappearance WABC-TV did a report on the Sara Fox case and said:
...the man who was called a leading suspect in the case now plans to move away from the neighborhood. Some residents believe he knew far too much about the details of the crime to be innocent.Manhattan may be safer than any time since the 19th century, but it still has cold-blooded killers, who prey on women, walking around.
Evelyn Rodriguez, Inwood Resident: "I believe he's the one. I mean he told everybody he knew what's going on."
Capt. Geoffrey Hart, N.Y.P.D.: "He alleged to clairvoyant, and I'm not a judge or a jury. We have to develop all our leads, we have to have a sufficient case to go forward."
As of yet, a lack of any strong physical evidence and certainly no witnesses in this case have complicated the investigation further, affecting the people who use this park greatly.
Danielle Farina, Inwood Resident: "It's frightening. I take a walk in this park almost every day and it crosses my mind on a daily basis."
It's sad to see a murder, like the Fox case, slowly sink into the cold case files. Especially, when the police and DA identified a prime suspect about a year ago. The reality is that crime never stops and new cases take center stage. Sometimes all you can do is write or say something to remember the victim when an unsolved murder case recedes from the public consciousness.
The Sarah Fox Fund: to support a scholarship in her name and provide money for a reward for information leading to the arrest of her killer.
The Sarah Fox Fundlinks:
C/O Gloucester Federal Savings
1990 New Brooklyn Road
Sicklerville, NJ 08081
Body of Sarah Fox ID'd; Death Ruled A Homicide [Gothamist, May 27, 2004]
Juilliard Student Murder Mystery - Sarah Fox [TJN, May 28, 2004]
Sarah Fox Murder Mystery Update [TJN, June 9, 2004]
Sarah Fox murder case grows cold and reward is raised [TJN, Nov. 21, 2004]
Prime Suspect Identified in Sarah Fox Murder Investigation [TJN, Dec. 7, 2004]
Sarah Fox [anglesmissing.com]
One Year Later, And Still No Arrest In Brutal Murder [abcnews/crimeandjustice.us, July 1, 2005]
The Mysterious Death of Catherine Woods [Steve Huff, The Dark Side, Nov. 29, 2005]
Exotic Dancer Killed In Her Upper East Side Apt. [wcbstv.com, Nov. 28, 2005]
Fake Fireman Rape Case: Peter Braunstein Prime Suspect [TJN, Nov. 12, 2005]