NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is now focusing on a suspect in the mysterious death of college student Marisha Cheong.
CBS 2 News has learned the suspect is a close female acquaintance of the victim’s boyfriend.
“I keep hearing the name coming up in the investigation,” the victim’s mother, Bibi Ali, told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello exclusively on Tuesday.
Cheong’s body washed ashore in Queens last weekend, clad in pajamas with her hands bound with green rope.
She vanished Dec. 19 from the home she shared with a boyfriend, 26-year-old LJ Balkaran. Earlier, Ali told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall she believes her daughter’s live-in boyfriend was a murderer.
“Hearing the state that the police found her and what she was wearing, especially in pajamas, he have to know something, and I think he’s the one that did it,” she said.
She said they were having money troubles.
“He always telling her he’s a director and he’s gonna get his big deal,” she said. “But I was the one that was really helping them.”
At the home Tuesday, Balkaran refused to talk to CBS 2’s Aiello about the case, but on Monday he said, “They’re questioning me about quite a few people.”
CBS 2 has learned police are focusing on a young female acquaintance of Balkaran. She may have been caught on camera.
There is a surveillance camera directly across the street from where Cheong lived with her boyfriend. Police recovered video from the recorder and CBS 2 has learned it shows a woman escorting Cheong out of the house on the morning she disappeared.
“Maybe she used some kind of force to bring her out,” Ali said.
Ali said that’s the only thing that explains why Cheong would leave the house in her pajamas, leaving her coat behind.
She said she’s desperate for answers from whoever may have them.
“I want you to come forward and say what you know. Think about my pain. Think if it was your mother,” Ali said.
Ali knows the NYPD is working relentlessly to find who killed her daughter and solve the mystery that has forever changed her life.
Police said the victim’s remains showed signs of numerous injuries. The Medical Examiner has not yet been able to pinpoint a cause of death.
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