Murder of Imette St. Guillen - Life and Murder

Life and Murder

Imette St. Guillen was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Seimundo Guillen and Maureen St. Hilaire. Her last name–and that of her elder sister– was a combination of her parents' surnames. Seimundo Guillen, a Venezuelan immigrant, died of AIDS when Imette was 9 years old. Her mother later remarried.

St. Guillen graduated from Boston Latin School in 1999 and moved to Washington, D.C. to attend George Washington University. Like her father, St. Guillen studied criminal justice. She graduated magna cum laude in 2003 and enrolled at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to pursue a master's degree. Although she originally intended to study Forensic psychology, she changed her major to criminal justice. She was ranked in the top 5% of her class, and was scheduled to graduate in May 2006.

After a pre-celebration of her upcoming birthday with her mother and sister, held in Florida, St. Guillen took a plane back to her apartment in Manhattan; later on, February 24, 2006, St. Guillen met with her best friend, Claire Higgins, to continue celebrating her birthday, which was only a few days away. Around 3:30 a.m. on February 25, the two women argued over whether to go home. Higgins had left; later, in a phone call at 3:50 a.m., St. Guillen assured Higgins that she would be leaving for home shortly. She was last seen at 4:00 a.m at the bar named 'The Falls'.

Seventeen hours after St. Guillen spoke with her friend, Brooklyn police received an anonymous phone call alerting them to a dead body, which they soon identified as that of St. Guillen. Her body was found nude, wrapped in a comforter. Several broken fingernails indicated that she had fought her attacker. Her hands and feet were tied, a sock had been shoved down her throat, and her head was wrapped in packing tape. Some of her hair had been cut off. An autopsy revealed that she had been beaten and sexually assaulted before being asphyxiated. According to forensic psychologist Dr. Stephanie Stolinsky, the killer "tried to dehumanize her completely. ... Whenever you hide someone's face, it means that you don't want to see them as a human being. You want to pretend that they're just an object".

The murder case of Imette St. Guillen was then handled by the Special Victims Squad.

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