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Crime News New York Homicide

A Grad Student Was At A Bar in Soho. Then Her Body Was Found Dumped In Brooklyn.

Imette St. Guillen was last seen by her friend heading to a bar in Soho. Less than a day later, her naked body was found wrapped in a bedspread in distant Brooklyn.

By Megan Carpentier
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SoHo is one of the fancier neighborhoods in Manhattan, and in 2006 it was teeming with restaurants, bars, and clubs — many of which were upscale.

That's seemingly one reason why, on Feb. 24, 2006, Imette St. Guillen, 24, and her friend, Claire Higgins, 27, decided to head to Soho from their uptown Morningside Heights neighborhood with Higgins' sister to celebrate St. Guillen's upcoming birthday, according to the New York Post.

They took a cab around 11:00 p.m. to a place called the Pioneer Bar on Bowery and Spring Street. There, Higgins said, the three had several drinks and talked to a few guys, but nothing panned out.

Higgins' sister left at 1:30 a.m. to meet friends in the East Village; Higgins held out until 3 a.m., but by then was ready to head home.

St. Guillen was not. 

Still, shortly after 3 a.m., the two walked out of the bar together and hailed a cab. That's when, Higgins told police, St. Guillen told her to get in the cab alone and she'd catch the next one. Higgins, who knew St. Guillen was intoxicated, didn't buy it and got out.The two argued about going home, and, as they bickered, St. Guillen started walking south along Bowery. Finally, Higgins gave up the argument and got in a cab.

Higgins called St. Guillen during the ride home to check in on her and could hear her friend was at another bar — but St. Guillen told her that she didn't know its name or the cross streets and hung up.

The bar was called The Falls. It was about four blocks west — on Lafayette Street — of where the two friends had parted ways at 3:30 a.m. Like all bars in New York City, it closed at 4 a.m.

None of her family and friends ever saw or heard from St. Guillen again. Her body was found, brutalized, her face covered in clear packing tape and wrapped in a comforter, by police around 8:45 p.m on Saturday. Someone called it in almost 15 miles away from where she was last seen in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, according to the New York Daily News.

Higgins had spent the day passing out missing flyers in Soho — St. Guillen's sister had to call her that evening to tell Higgins that her missing friend was dead. At that moment, Higgins told police, she was in fact in The Falls. Bar manager Danny Dorrian — the son of a politically-connected NYC family whose family had owned the bar where "Preppie Killer" Robert Chambers met his victim in the 1980s, according to NBC New York — emerged after the call to a weeping Higgins, whom he told, "New York can be a tough town."

Eventually, police questioned every male employee of the bar that night, reported New York Magazine — including the unflappable Dorrian, the bartender who saw St. Guillen sitting alone around 4:00 a.m. and the bouncer who Dorrian had asked to escort St. Guillen outside after closing.

Who killed Imette St. Guillen? And how did her body end up so far away in Brooklyn without anybody seeing anything? To answer these questions and more about the case, watch "New York Homicide," a series about the most shocking crimes to occur in NYC, premiering Saturday, January 1 at 10/9c on Oxygen. 

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