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A handyman is under arrest after police say he murdered a woman in her home and rolled her remains out of the house in a duffel bag before leaving them in a nearby Queens park, police say.
David Bonola, 44, was charged with killing Queens mother Orsolya Gaal, 51, whose body was found Saturday morning near a walking trail in nearby Forest Hills Park, police told to NBC New York. Multiple law enforcement sources told the outlet that Bonola had previously worked as a handyman for Gaal.
They believe he showed up at the victim’s Juno Street home in the quiet neighborhood on Friday night and the two reportedly argued before Bonola allegedly stabbed the mother nearly 60 times in her basement.
Bonola approached law enforcement at around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday as authorities canvassed the neighborhood to arrest him, saying, “I hear you are looking for me,” according to New York’s ABC 7. Bonola was taken to the 112th precinct of the NYPD and allegedly confessed to the murder.
According to the New York Post, sources said Bonola was linked to the murder after authorities found his blood-soaked boots at Gaal’s Tudor-style home in Forest Hills. ABC 7 reported that police believe they found his blood-soaked jacket in the park, as well as bloody bandages from cuts on both hands that were treated at a local hospital.
Bonola was placed under arrest just before 1:00 a.m. on Thursday, ABC News reported. He is being charged with murder, criminal tampering and criminal possession of a weapon.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig told reporters Thursday that Bonola and Gaal started an "intimate affair," two years ago when Bonola began offering handyman service's at her family's home, according to People.
Essig said the two had gotten into an argument about ending their on-again, off-again relationship early Saturday morning.
"A violent struggle ensues, resulting in our victim being stabbed ruthlessly and brutally in excess of 55 times, causing her demise," Essig said.
Gaal was last seen at the Forest Hills Station House late on Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning, according to NBC New York. The pub’s manager, Gabriel Veras, didn’t recall anything unusual about the evening.
“She was here on Friday, right in the center of the bar,” Veras told the station. “Had a Moscow Mule, had a bite to eat, spoke to a few of my staff members that know her, joking around in conversation. She was a very, very sweet regular. She left alone, and we were in shock the next day. Shock.”
Veras told ABC 7 that Gaal left the establishment between 11:45 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
As previously reported, a man walking his dog came upon Gaal’s body after finding a “suspicious bag with blood on it” at around 8:00 a.m. on Saturday near the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and Jackie Robinson Parkway in Forest Hills Park. A postmortem examination revealed Gaal was stabbed 58 times, sustaining wounds to her torso, neck, left arm and both hands.
Authorities followed a blood trail back to Gaal’s home, approximately half a mile away.
Police found Gaal’s 13-year-old son at the residence, Oxygen.com previously reported. Neighbors said police placed the teenager in handcuffs and led him away for questioning, but it was later determined that he hadn’t left the residence during the night.
According to ABC 7, the boy was upstairs, unaware, while his mother was being stabbed to death in the basement.
Detectives narrowed their focus on surveillance cameras, which reportedly captured the person believed to be Gaal’s killer dragging the wheeled duffel bag down a nearby sidewalk shortly before sunrise on Saturday.
Gaal’s husband, Howard Klein, was out of town when the murder occurred. He and the couple’s 17-year-old son were scouting out potential colleges in Portland, Oregon.
Klein said he received threatening messages from his wife’s phone by the person believed to be the killer, according to WPIX.
“Your whole family is next,” the text read.
Before Bonola’s arrest, Klein told the New York Post he was grateful that his younger son, Leo, was unharmed but voiced fears for his family.
“There are concerns about our safety,” said Klein. “Our lives are at risk.”
The shocking murder rattled the otherwise sleepy New York neighborhood.
“She was out there living her life and making sure her kids were well looked after, like any mother would,” neighbor Nicola Blankson told the New York Post. “This is the last thing I’d expect to wake up to.”
“I can’t even understand how terrifying this is,” said another neighbor. “It’s very unusual to see this. I don’t know how this could happen around here.”
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