NEW YORK —Police on Thursday questioned a 14-year-old who police sources say fatally stabbed Barnard College student Tessa Majors in Morningside Park —then released him hours later as they worked to gather more evidence.
The teen was released without charges to his attorneys, but NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison tweeted Thursday afternoon that the investigation remained “very active.”
“Our detectives are the best at what they do and are committed to finding justice for all parties involved,” Harrison said.
A source with knowledge of the case said that detectives believe the teen is the one who killed 18-year-old Majors but need to do more investigative work —like collecting DNA samples and matching it to evidence found at the scene —before they can officially charge him.
The teen was found in the Bronx around 8 a.m. and brought to the 26th Precinct for questioning, police sources said. It was not immediately clear if he was with anyone when he was found.
“After being taken into custody, his attorneys were present at the 26 precinct for the entire investigative process,” Harrison tweeted.
Neighborhood Defenders confirmed to the New York Daily News that they were representing the 14-year-old suspect, but declined to comment.
The teen is suspected of fatally stabbing Majors in a robbery gone wrong on Dec. 11, police sources said.
He was expected to turn himself in on Dec. 16, but instead went into hiding. His mother later told police that the teen jumped out of a car as he was en route to see detectives, a law enforcement official said.
The family has been uncooperative and it’s not clear if the teen really was on his way to meet police that night, the official said.
A 13-year-old was taken into custody Dec. 12, and has been charged with murder, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon. He is now being held in a juvenile detention facility and will be prosecuted in Family Court.
Detectives are in the process of getting DNA from the two captured teens to see if it can be linked to evidence recovered from Majors’ body. A source said the Barnard student may have bitten or scratched one of her attackers.
A third 14-year-old suspect was taken into custody Dec. 13, then released because detectives at that point had nothing to tie him to the crime other than a confession by the 13-year-old teen.