NEW YORK – Police hunted Wednesday for a man who entered a psychologist’s office with a bag of knives and a meat cleaver, hacking her to death so savagely that blood spattered the walls and floor and the entire room was torn apart.
A colleague who responded to the victim’s screams was seriously injured, and investigators were trying to determine whether the attacker was a patient at the clinic. Three knives were recovered at the scene, including a 9-inch knife and the cleaver, which was apparently bent from the attack, police said.
Kathryn Faughey’s office was in shambles: Furniture was overturned, shades torn and blood was on the walls and pooled on the floor. She suffered 15 stab wounds, including a gash to her head believed to be from the cleaver, police said.
Investigators do not know the name of the suspect. Authorities released a sketch of a balding, middle-age man believed to be the killer along with surveillance videotapes of the attacker entering and leaving the building.
He left behind two bags that contained bizarre clues, authorities said.
A roller suitcase was filled with adult diapers and women’s clothing, including blouses and slippers, and a smaller second bag was filled with eight knives, rope and duct tape, tools apparently not used in the attack, police said.
Believing the killer might have been injured in the attack, authorities issued alerts to area hospitals and looked through the 56-year-old Faughey’s computer files for clues. They also examined surveillance footage to see whether he had been to the office prior to the attack.
The attack rattled residents of the affluent neighborhood. They feared a violent slasher was in their midst. It also shocked the mental health care community and raised questions about safety protections at therapist’s offices.
“Everyone in the building is very nervous, because we know that this person is loose. It’s very frightening,” said Linda Elliott, who lives in the building where the attack occurred.
The attack happened Tuesday night in a 13-story apartment building on East 79th Street, in a bustling neighborhood just blocks from a major hospital complex, police said.