A 27-year-old dog walker was brutally stabbed to death on a quiet Washington D.C. street Tuesday night in what appears to be a random attack.
Margery Magill bled out on the sidewalk as the dog she had been walking, a tiny yellow pit bull mix, huddled nearby howling, according to The Washington Post.
Area resident Christopher Chambers heard a woman scream “Oh no!” and then another scream, he later told local station WRC-TV.
“[I] came downstairs and came out with my wife and all we saw was a dog across the street with a leash and no human and we knew something was wrong,” he said. “We looked down and we found the young lady on the sidewalk in front of our house bleeding.”
Chambers tried to perform CPR, even getting the assistance of another neighbor, but Magill’s injuries were too severe and she died at the nearby MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Later that night police arrested Eliyas Aregahegne, 24. He was been charged with first-degree murder in what police believe was a random attack on Magill, who worked as a program director at the nonprofit organization The Washington Center. She also picked up part-time dog-walking jobs through Rover, an online marketplace for pet owners.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said investigators aren’t sure what the apparent motive was in the stabbing. There was no robbery or attempted sexual assault and the suspect did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he was arrested.
Investigators are now trying to determine whether the man may have mental health issues.
Magill’s family is left grappling with the sudden death of a woman they say loved animals and traveling.
“It’s absolutely tragic. I still can’t wrap my head around it,” her sister Reann Magill told WRC-TV. “You know, out walking a dog and to be attacked like that. How can anyone even fathom that? I mean, it’s truly tragic and I even think to myself, why her?”
Magill’s father, Jeff Magill, also spoke of the family’s heartache from the California ranch where Margery Magill had grown up raising goats and helping with 4-H agricultural programs.
“It’s like the twilight zone,” he told California station KOVR. “Am I going to wake up and this is a dream?”
Jeff Magill received a call at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday telling him his 27-year-old daughter was dead.
“I don’t know how you get a handle on somebody doing something like that,” he told The Post.
Margery Magill’s family described her as an avid traveler who had visited 22 countries—including Tanzania, Zanzibar, Costa Rica and Turkey.
“She had more life in her 27 years than a lot of people have in their whole lives,” her father said.
She once interned at the Jane Goodall Institute and graduated earlier this year from the University of Westminster in London with a master’s degree in international relations.
Despite her travels, the University of California at Davis undergraduate had been drawn to Washington D.C. and was considering settling down in the bustling city.
"She loved the city. She loved the energy,” her sister said. “She really wanted to build her career here and thrive off of the energy that was Washington, D.C.”
But Magill would never have the chance.
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