New York police are investigating the death of a woman found strangled inside her home near Kennedy airport Tuesday evening.
Samantha Stewart was discovered badly battered, with trauma to her neck and head, police and her relatives said. According to the New York Post, Stewart’s brothers grew worried when she stopped answering phone calls.
They stopped by her home to check on her that evening and discovered the 29–year–old nurse naked, wrapped in a white sheet on her bedroom floor. Her teeth were knocked out and her tongue was left hanging from her mouth, family members said.
“I took a glimpse of her and went back outside,” Stewart’s 17-year-old brother Keniel told the newspaper. “That’s not how I wanted to remember her, so I didn’t want to see her.”
Keniel said his older brother tried calling Stewart around 3 p.m. Monday but got no answer. Relatives continued trying to reach her into Tuesday afternoon until her brothers went by her house to check on her. They said they’d last spoken to her early Monday while she was getting ready for work at Long Island Jewish Hospital.
“We thought she was sleeping, because she works a night shift, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” the victim’s father, Kenneth Stewart said. “When she’s sleeping, we try not to disturb her because she works at night.”
The city’s medical examiner determined Stewart’s cause of death as “manual strangulation.” Her death is currently being investigated as a homicide.
The tragedy has left the grieving family searching for answers.
“Why, why has he done this to us, why, what’s his reasoning?” said Stewart’s aunt, Ruby Dixon.
According to ABC 7, Stewart reportedly had a boyfriend but family members said they have no idea who he is or even what his name is. Kenneth Stewart, the victim’s father, told NBC New York that police are now searching for the mystery man and that a neighbor’s surveillance video showed him going in and out of the home.
“I am heartbroken,” Kenneth Stewart said.
It’s unclear if police have identified a suspect at this time.