DNA may be key evidence in Barnard College student Tessa Majors' murder

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, Manhattan -- The focus of the investigation into the murder of Barnard College student Tessa Majors has turned to DNA swabs recovered from the two 14-year-olds who were questioned before they were released, officials said Friday.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison, seeking to reassure the public, said that the investigation into the December 11th murder is "still active and ongoing."

Harrison said the NYPD believes those eventually charged in the killing will be prosecuted as adults by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, and not go through family court.

A third teen, a 13-year-old, was previously charged in family court and remains in custody.

The 14-year-old boy picked up yesterday, who Harrison referred to as a "person of interest" in the death, appeared to have had an injury on his hand, a mark consistent with a bite.

Officials have previously said Majors bit one of her attackers. DNA has been recovered from her body, and investigators hope to link that DNA forensically to one of the three boys.

Harrison would not directly address the injury, saying only "that's part of that ongoing investigation that I can't talk about at this time."

Investigators have speculated the teen's family was shielding him until the mark on his hand had fully healed. He was finally located in the Bronx Thursday morning.

Harrison said he has "upmost faith" that the NYPD will be able to again locate the 14-year-old in the future, even though he eluded their reach for more than two weeks.

Majors, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was wrapping up her first semester at the school when she cut through Morningside Park just before 8 p.m. last Wednesday. As she approached the stairs to exit at West 116th Street, police say a group of teens tried to rob her and take her phone.

There was a struggle, and she was stabbed multiple times. She was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital and pronounced dead.
Anyone with information about the murder is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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