UPDATE: Slaying of Pediatrician in Center City Drawing Worldwide Attention
The slaying of Melissa Ketunuti—the Philadelphia pediatrician whose burning and bound body was found Monday in her Center City home—is drawing attention from national and international news sources, even while investigators try to track her killer.
Police said the woman’s face and upper body were so badly burned that she was unrecognizable, but neighbors identified her as Ketunuti, 35, a Stanford University graduate who, according to her blog, came to Philadelphia in 2008 to start a residency at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Property records for the house where the woman’s body was found also listed Ketunuti as the homeowner.
Police said there was no sign of forced entry or of anything having been taken from the house, and they knew of no suspects or motive in the gruesome killing Monday night. Receipts from a store the woman visited shortly before she was killed were being reviewed as evidence, police said.
A neighbor who was home Monday afternoon when fire trucks and police converged on the normally quiet side street between Lombard and South said he hadn’t heard any barking from Pooch, who was in the house when the body was found.
The grisly crime has drawn attention from Fox News in America, and the ever-more-senationalistic Daily Mail in Great Britain. By late morning Tuesday, though, no breakthroughs in the case had been reported.
UPDATE: Philadelphia Police held a late-morning news conference to discuss the murder. Capt. James Clark said that in addition to hands and feet, rope was found around the victim’s neck—and that strangulation is believed to be the cause of death. She had a boyfriend, he said: “We are talking to him,” Clark said. “As of now, he is not a suspect.”
Clark suggested that police have few clues to go on in the early going. They’ve retraced Ketuniti’s last public steps, checking surveillance cameras to see if information can be gleaned.