The young life of a Barnard College student came to a horrifying end. Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old from Charlottesville, Virginia, was mugged and fatally stabbed in New York City. Here’s what you need to know.
Update 4:00 PM ET: “We lost a very special, very talented, and very well-loved young woman,” Tessa’s family said in a statement. “Tess shone bright in this world, and our hearts will never be the same.”
Original: “On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at approximately 1736 hours, police responded to a 911 call for a female assaulted in the vicinity of West 116th Street and Morningside Drive within the confines of the 26th Precinct,” the NYPD said in a statement to HollywoodLife. The female was Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old Barnard College student, who was found near a Columbia University security guard booth. “Upon arrival, officers discovered an unconscious and unresponsive 18-year old female with multiple stab wounds to her body,” says the NYPD.
The Charlottesville, Virginia native had been violently attacked during a group mugging, according to ABC7NY. The attack would prove fatal. “EMS responded and transported the victim to Mount Sinai/St. Luke’s Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased,” says the NYPD. “There are no arrests at this time, and the investigation is ongoing.” As the police continue their investigation into this grizzly murder, here’s what we know about Tessa and the case so far.
1. She was stabbed during a group mugging. Tessa was walking down a set of steps to the park when a group of men attempted to rob her, according to the NY Daily News. Unidentified sources told the publication that one of the alleged robbers stabbed her repeatedly in the stomach during the confrontation. After the attack, the group scattered. She reportedly climbed back up the steps and made her way to the Columbia security guard booth.
Initial reports stated that the guard was out doing his rounds, but a spokesperson for Columbia told HollywoodLife that was incorrect. “The public safety officer assigned to 116th Street and Morningside Drive was at his post last night when the victim emerged from the park, and he came to her aid immediately upon recognizing that she was injured. Reports to the contrary are inaccurate. Officers stationed at this location do not make rounds that cause them to leave their post.”
2. Items were reportedly found near her body. Tessa’s phone was found on the sidewalk near her, but it wasn’t charged, according to multiple outlets. In addition to this, a closed “gravity knife” and a woman’s hat were also discovered near her.
3. She was the daughter of a novelist. Tessa’s father is author Inman Majors, a novelist and writing professor at James Madison University in Virginia. Her mother is named Christy, and she has a younger brother. “I guess being from a smaller town, she was too naive to think about walking alone in New York City,” Martha Burton, the teen’s grandmother, told the NY Daily News. “She just shouldn’t have been there.”
4. Tessa was also part of a band. Tessa’s Instagram features pictures from her life, including scenes of her playing bass in a group called Patient 0. Her Instagram included a link to their 2019 debut, Girl Problems. Her last Instagram post showed her having fun with a friend. “Partying like it’s 1999! Prince would be proud,” she captioned the Dec. 7 post.
5. The president of Barnard College called her death a “devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman.” Shortly after her death, Barnard College President Sian Leah Beilock released a statement, according to ABC7. It read, in part: “Dean Grinage and I have spoken to her parents, and Tessa’s family is en route to NYC. We are also in close touch with the New York Police Department as they conduct this on-going investigation and seek to identify the assailant in this horrible attack. Tessa was just beginning her journey at Barnard and in life. We mourn this devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman and member of our community. This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core. Please know that we are all grieving together, and I am thinking of you as we process this awful news as a community.”