An 18-year-old college student has been found stabbed to death in a park just a block away from the New York City Columbia University campus.
Tessa Majors was a student at Barnard College, a private liberal arts college in Manhattan that is affiliated with the prestigious university near where she was found with multiple stab wounds.
She had reportedly made it to one of the college's security outposts, but the guard on duty was out on patrol at the time.
A statement from Barnard president Sian Leah Beilock to students said that Majors was victim of an armed robbery, and that her parents had been notified. A spokesperson for the New York Police Department said that no arrests had been made as of Thursday morning, and that an investigation is ongoing.
“Tessa was just beginning her journey at Barnard and in life. We mourn this devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman and member of our community,” Ms Beilock wrote. “This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core. Please know that we are all grieving together and I am thinking of you as we process this awful news as a community.”
Police say Majors was found at Morningside Park just after 5.30pm on Wednesday. She was then transported to nearby Mt Sinai Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
A text alert to students from Barnard College indicated that the suspect in her killing was a male wearing a green jacket and a hat, according to NBC News. Morningside Park was closed on Thursday morning as investigators sought for clues that could lead to the apprehension of the suspect.
“We are heart broken,” said a tweet from the park’s account. “Our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends.”
New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio, in a tweet, promised police would find the culprits: “We will find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice.”
He added: ”We’ve lost a young woman full of potential in a senseless act of violence. I want every student and every member of faculty to know your city will be with you in the days ahead.”
Majors played in a band, and had recently played in her first gig in New York City, according to posts on her Instagram account. The final post on her Instagram story was of Merriam Webster's naming of the pronoun "they" as the word of the year for 2019.
She graduated from high school in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this year, before enrolling at Barnard this fall, according to an obituary in the St Augusta Free Press.
Her father, Inman Majors, often doted on his daughter on Facebook, including in a post in May on her 18th birthday.
“18 years ago today my life got redefined in all the right ways when this little bundle of fun came into the world,” Mr Majors, a professor at James Madison University, wrote then. “Happy Birthday to Tessa Rane Majors, a fantastic young lady. I can't wait to see what the next 18 years have in store.”