Advertisement

13-year-old arrested for killing of Tessa Majors in New York

File image of former St. Anne’s-Belfield School student Tessa Majors, who was stabbed to death in New York City
File image of former St. Anne’s-Belfield School student Tessa Majors, who was stabbed to death in New York City(WHSV)
Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 1:40 PM EST
Email this link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

UPDATE (Dec. 13):

A young teenager has been arrested for stabbing 18-year-old Tessa Majors, who has family in the Shenandoah Valley, to death in Manhattan.

National media outlets report a 13-year-old boy admitted to his role in the attempted robbery and stabbing of Tessa Rane Majors, who was in her first year at Barnard College. A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation confirmed the arrest.

According to ABC, the juvenile faces charges of murder, robbery and weapons possession in connection to the case.

Police say Tessa Majors was walking in Manhattan’s Morningside Park early Wednesday evening when she was accosted by an unknown number of people and stabbed.

She then staggered to a spot near West 116th Street in Morningside Heights, where she was spotted by a security guard who called 911.

She was rushed to a hospital, where she died of her injuries.

Investigators recovered a knife Thursday but were not certain whether it was connected to Majors’ death.

Several people have been let go after being questioned by police, New York City Police Department's chief of detectives, Rodney Harrison, told reporters.

Majors was the daughter of James Madison University professor and novelist Inman Majors, and lived in Waynesboro for several years before moving to Charlottesville.

"Tess shone bright in this world, and our hearts will never be the same," the family told ABC News in a statement Thursday.

Majors was finishing up her freshman year at Barnard College, which is part of the Ivy League’s Columbia University, with final exams set to begin Friday. The school's president, Sian Leah Beilock, said that Majors was wounded "during an armed robbery" that occurred off campus in the park.

"This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core," Beilock said in a statement.

Hundreds of people gathered at Barnard College to mourn Majors at a vigil Thursday night. Students, faculty and other community members placed flowers, candles and notes at a makeshift memorial on campus.

“The idea that a college freshman at Barnard was murdered in cold blood is absolutely, not only painful to me as a parent, it’s terrifying to think that that could happen anywhere,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday. “It’s an unacceptable reality.”

Majors interned at Augusta Free Press just last year, and had just reached back out to her former boss in November, telling Chris Graham she planned to take a journalism class in the spring.

"To me, the greatest tragedy here is that the world won’t get to see what she would have done. It may have been in music, it may have been in writing, and it may have been in something else. But she had a lot to offer the world and for it to be taken away so tragically, it’s a loss to her family and to everybody," Graham said.

Investigators are still searching for other suspects believed to be involved.

___________

Dec. 12

A woman with ties to the Shenandoah Valley attending college in New York was murdered this week.

Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old in her first year at Barnard College, was found unresponsive by a security guard near West 116th Street in Morningside Heights late Wednesday, December 11.

She was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

According to New York police, Majors had been stabbed repeatedly shortly before 7 p.m. Investigators believe it was the result of an attempted robbery. Police believe she made it a short distance before collapsing at a college security booth, but the guard was out making rounds at the time she got there.

According to New York media outlets, police are interviewing two minors in connection to the fatal stabbing, but no arrests have yet been made.

“We do have a couple people that we are questioning at the 26th Precinct,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harris told reporters.

Majors was the daughter of James Madison University professor and novelist Inman Majors, and lived in Waynesboro for several years before moving to Charlottesville.

"We were horrified by the news of Inman’s daughter, Tessa," said JMU spokesperson Bill Wyatt. "Inman Majors is a big part of our JMU community and we hate that he has to go through this. Our condolences are with him and his family during this difficult time."

Majors also interned at the Augusta Free Press just last spring. Her former boss and owner of the online newspaper, Chris Graham, told NBC29 that Tessa loved New York and was excited to experience life in a big city.

Graham said Tessa liked covering hard news, and wasn't afraid of a challenge. Her first story as an intern there was covering a budget crisis in Waynesboro.

She had just emailed him in November, saying she planned to take a journalism class in the spring.

"To me, the greatest tragedy here is that the world won’t get to see what she would have done. It may have been in music, it may have been in writing, and it may have been in something else. But she had a lot to offer the world and for it to be taken away so tragically, it’s a loss to her family and to everybody," Graham said.

She was a graduate of St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville. A spokesperson for the school said they're all in mourning.

“Tess was a shining light in our community, a good friend, respected classmate, trusted teammate, and creative and passionate musician. Her death is an immeasurable loss, and we mourn alongside the Majors family and all who knew and loved Tess,” Head of St. Anne’s-Belfield School David Lourie said in a statement.

Majors’ death also caught the attention of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who tweeted that police will be increasing their presence in the area immediately. He added, "We will keep this community safe, arrest the perpetrators, and ensure nothing like this can happen again.”

Barnard College President Sian Leah Beilock sent a message to students, writing:

“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.” “With broken hearts, we share tragic news about the death of one of our students. Earlier this evening, Tessa Majors, a first year student at Barnard, was fatally injured during an armed robbery that occurred off campus in Morningside Park. Dean Grinage and I have spoken to her parents and Tessa’s family is en route to NYC. We are also in close touch with the New York Police Department as they conduct this on-going investigation and seek to identify the assailant in this horrible attack. 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. 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. In these difficult circumstances, it is important for us to take care of each other. The Furman Counseling Center will be open all night tonight and throughout the day tomorrow. We encourage anyone in need of support to come… In the days ahead, please know that all of our campus resources are available for you as we mourn this heartbreaking loss together. I encourage you to reach out to the following additional on-campus resources as needed… We will provide you with updates as they become available to us. Barnard and Columbia Public Safety are coordinating closely with the NYPD. We remind all students that public safety provides 24/7 escort services and students are free to reach out with any questions or concerns (212-854-6666). To our entire Barnard community, I am in mourning with you and am here for you. Tonight and in the days ahead, please hold Tessa and her family in your hearts and keep each other close.”

Latest News

Latest News