Teen sought in connection to Tessa Majors murder is detained and released: NYPD

Manhattan
Murdered Barnard College student Tessa Majors

Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors, 18, was found stabbed to death by Morningside Park in Upper Manhattan on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, according to police.

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A 14-year-old who had been sought by investigators for nearly a week in connection to the Tessa Majors homicide was detained in the Bronx before being processed and released from custody on Thursday, according to officials.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison first tweeted on Friday, Dec. 20 that the male was sought. On Thursday, Harrison tweeted that the subject had been “located” before later saying he had been released.

“Although he has since been released to the custody of his attorneys, the investigation remains very active,” Harrison tweeted.

Sources said investigators used electronic surveillance to locate the teen, with one source confirming he was ultimately detained in the Bronx.

Officials have not said what the teen’s connection to murder might be.

On the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 11, 18-year-old Majors was walking through Morningside Park when several individuals attacked and stabbed her to death, according to Harrison.

Days later, Majors’ death was ruled a homicide days when a spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner said it was caused by stab wounds to her torso.

Police then identified one of the suspects and the male, 13, was taken into custody on Dec. 12. He was charged with felony murder.

The 13-year-old boy allegedly picked up a knife when one of his friends dropped it and saw the attack, police said.

More details about the case emerged on Dec. 17, when police officers testified at a Manhattan family court hearing.

A detective said surveillance video does not show the 13-year-old stabbing Majors or taking her property, and an attorney for the teen argued his client was not aware that a robbery would be taking place.

However, a judge ruled that the 13-year-old’s intent to commit a crime was established when he entered the park, and that he aided in the robbery when he allegedly picked up the knife.

The teen is set to remain in the custody of the Administration for Children’s Services.

The 13-year-old told detectives that he watched as one of his friends grabbed Majors from behind and the other stabbed her before taking items from her pockets, officials said.

On Friday, Dec. 13, a second male, age 14, was taken into custody. After questioning, he was released and not charged, Harrison said. The chief would not say why the subject was not facing charges.

PIX11 News’ Mary Murphy, Nicole Johnson and Corey Crockett contributed to this story.

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