HARLEM — The 19-year-old woman whose boyfriend allegedly stabbed her to death and then stuffed her body into a 55-gallon drum may have been trying to leave him when he killed her, police sources said.
Francis Angelica Alfonso Pellerano had just moved into her boyfriend's apartment several months ago, but she was homesick and had recently spoken about dumping him, sources said.
"She may have been leaving him to go home," a police source said. "It's another bad love story."
Sources did not disclose where the victim had previously lived.
Pellerano's body was found Saturday evening with several stab wounds to the chest, inside of a drum in the apartment the couple shared with the boyfriend's grandmother, at 2400 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, near West 140th Street, sources said.
Pellerano's body was discovered by the suspect's grandmother, who noticed a foul odor coming from the drum in the apartment, sources said.
Earlier that day, the unidentified grandmother had brought the suspect, who sources said may be bipolar, to St. Luke's Hospital because he was behaving strangely.
The boyfriend, whose identity has not been released, has declined to speak to police and has said he wants a lawyer, sources said. No one had been arrested as of Wednesday afternoon, police said.
Pellerano and her boyfriend, who works cleaning a gym, originally met somewhere outside the city, and then she moved in with him shortly afterward, sources said.
The killing alarmed neighbors, who described the suspect as a kind and generous young man, giving money to residents who needed it.
"That makes me nervous," Cindy Stewart, 54, a longtime resident of the building, said of the murder. "Police being here is nothing new, but I would have never expected something like this."
With reporting by Jeff Mays.