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Sunday, March 5, 2006

Imette St. Guillen - Where was she grabbed?

updated: March 6, 2006 - Was it the bouncer?

The Falls bar & commercial space, 218 Lafayette St.
The question scores of New York City detectives are trying to figure out is where was Imette St. Guillen abducted. New York City has to be one of the most densely covered cities in terms of video security cameras. Early reports of the investigation into the murder of Ms. St. Guillen said police were trying to secure and examine every security video in the area surrounding The Falls bar in SoHo where she was last seen. The hope being they could see who or how she was grabbed.

The fact she was was not apparently seen on nearby security cameras tells the police something important that they have now followed to its logical conclusion. Perhaps she never made it very far from The Falls bar that she reportedly walked out of at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, Feb. 25th.

The Amazon A-9 Map and Block View Images is a very interesting webservice. It provides street level images of city blocks in major cities. Above is an A9 Map block image that has been posted here for several days. Does it provide any clues?

Newsday reported today (Mar 5th):

Police with a search warrant returned Sunday to the bar where slain graduate student Imette St. Guillen last was seen alive.

Officers, some in protective white laboratory suits, searched for evidence for several hours at The Falls, the Bowery drinking spot St. Guillen visited before she vanished in the early hours of Feb. 25. They also searched a commercial space above the bar. A police Crime Scene Unit van sat parked outside.

Authorities believe someone accosted St. Guillen after she left the bar. There are several security video cameras in the neighborhood, but police haven't found any showing her in the area at closing time.
WABC reported the new turn in the investigation:
On Sunday, the day after 24 year-old Imette Saint Guillen was laid to rest, the search for her killer continued. The focus is around the last place she was seen alive.

Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Rossen is outside the bar in Soho where she spent her last night out.

The NYPD has been here all afternoon. They are focusing on the second floor offices above the Falls bar. Sources inside the NYPD tell Eyewitness News that there may be a connection between those second floor offices and the last person to speak with the victim.

Forensic teams came and went Sunday, holding bags of evidence. The focus is on the offices above the Falls bar. There are at least two businesses on the second floor of the building. Police think the last person to speak to Saint Guillen may have a connection to the second floor offices, though details on that connection are not clear. The official line from the NYPD is that this new evidence search is part of the routine investigation and they are retracing Saint Guillen's final steps.
UPDATE:

N.Y. cops grill parolee: Bouncer last to be seen with Imette
[Boston Herald, March 6, 2006]
NYPD detectives spent yesterday grilling a career criminal who worked as a bouncer at the trendy Soho hotspot where Imette St. Guillen was last seen before her brutalized body was found last weekend, the Herald has learned.

Darryl Littlejohn
, 41, was the bouncer on duty at The Falls bar last Saturday morning and was the last person seen with St. Guillen, patrons told police...

Littlejohn, a parolee with a long rap sheet and five aliases - described as thickset, muscular and heavily tattooed - was being questioned by NYPD Brooklyn North homicide detectives last night, several sources said. Investigators planned to execute a search warrant on his Jamaica, Queens, home today. Jamaica is a large section of Queens several miles northeast of where St. Guillen was found.

"Several witnesses said she was seen talking to him, and we have people from the bar saying they were kind of scared of him," said a law-enforcement source close to the case. He is described as always dressing in black ‘‘like a ninja,” and allegedly told the bar owners he had been a U.S. marshal.

"His cell phone puts him at the bar at the same time as the victim. It also places him in Brooklyn two hours later - nowhere near his home in Queens," the source said.

Investigators say they placed Littlejohn in East New York, the area of Brooklyn where St. Guillen’s bound body was found after a male caller used a pay phone outside a diner to alert 911.

Littlejohn was uncooperative with detectives, sources said. One source described him as "a hard guy." Yesterday, detectives executed a search warrant on the basement of The Falls, located on a swanky stretch of Lafayette Street in Soho. Crime Scene Unit detectives said it did not appear the killing took place there.
The NY Daily News, Mar. 6th - Ex-con eyed:
Detectives this morning were questioning a bouncer who worked at the SoHo bar where a graduate student was last seen alive - and cops were eying whether the killer used a secret doorway at the joint, sources said...

Cops, some in protective white jumpsuits, searched 218 Lafayette St. yesterday, shutting the first-floor bar where the vivacious John Jay College of Criminal Justice grad student was last seen. They meticulously gathered bags of hair and fiber evidence as they examined the basement, roof and second-floor offices - which have an inner door and stairway leading to the bar, said former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, whose family owns the building.

"They went into the basement, they went on the roof, they went upstairs to the second floor. We allowed them total access to anything that they wanted to see," Ferraro told The News last night.

Offices on the second floor of the building are used by a variety of businesses connected to her husband, John Zaccaro, and by a charity group that counts Ferraro among its supporters.

Investigators were looking into whether the inner doorway - which is kept locked and alarmed - and staircase were somehow used by the killer after snatching the beautiful and brainy Boston native, sources said.
Sounds like Littlejohn is already caught in a lie:
"She didn't talk to anybody," a burly bouncer inside The Falls told the Daily News [reporter Veronika Belenkaya] early yesterday. "She just kept to herself."
Tracing her last night step by step [NY Daily News, Mar. 5, 2006]
Hours before he was being questioned at Brooklyn's 75th Precinct stationhouse, Littlejohn called a Daily News reporter [Veronika Belenkaya] yesterday morning (Sunday, Mar. 5th) to say he had nothing to do with the horrible crime. He accused cops of harassing him.
links:
Searching At The Falls… (Imette) [Huff's Crime Blog]
Imette St. Guillen - Brutal NYC Student Rape, Murder Mystery [TJN]

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