New York City Police announced the arrest Monday night of a 55-year-old man in connection to the murder of Betty Williams, the young woman found killed, stuffed into a suitcase and left just a few blocks away from a popular New York restaurant. According to CNN, Hassan Malik was charged with second degree murder in the 28-year-old Bronx woman’s death. Shortly after his arrest, Malik confessed to Williams’ murder.
The New York Post reported that in Hassan Malik’s confession, he told police that he paid Betty Williams for sex and then caught her attempting to take more money than they had agreed upon. He then killed her by strangling her to death, investigators said.
The arrest of Malik came after New York Police released a second surveillance video of a man in a dark overcoat purchasing items in a store. However, according to the New York Daily News, after that man was identified and questioned by investigators, it was determined that he had no connection with Williams’ death.
Authorities had previously released surveillance video taken from a building near where Betty Williams’ body was found. In the first footage, a man similarly dressed to the man in the second video is seen pulling a suitcase behind him, eventually exiting the camera with the luggage in tow.
Malik was picked up after police got a tip that he was the man in the video pulling the suitcase, sources told the Daily News.
That suitcase was found later by a female passerby who thought she might have stumbled upon something valuable. Instead, when she unzipped the container, a leg immediately protruded from within. The passerby ran to Rao’s, a popular celebrity eating establishment just blocks away, and called 911, reporting an “unresponsive woman.”
Betty Williams, who would be identified later, would be pronounced dead within minutes. Although investigators at first thought the young woman had died of blunt force trauma to the head due to blood found leaking from the suitcase, it was later determined that she had died by strangulation.
The circumstances surrounding her death and any motive has yet to be determined, although the New York Daily News reported that Malik’s neighbors, who identified the man in the first video as Malik, said he often bragged about taking women to hotels and robbing them of their credit cards. Malik lived just a few blocks from where the suitcase was discovered.
One neighbor, who spoke anonymously to the Daily News said that Hassan Malik “could talk” and always had women at his place. “He was a people person,” the neighbor explained.
According to CNN, when asked by a reporter if he was sorry for what he had done, Malik, who was being led away by the police, answered, “Yes.”
Not much has been released regarding Betty Williams, whose body was found Dec. 22, or her circumstances. Although reports vary on the exact number, she had a lengthy arrest record and had been arrested at least a dozen times, spending time at Riker’s Island. Half of her arrests were drug-related.
The New York Post reported that Hassan Malik also had an extensive rap sheet, mostly for burglary and drug offenses.
Larry Celona, Frank Rosario, and Jamie Schram, “Man Held in Suitcase Slay,” NYPost.com
Jason Kessler, “Police arrest man in case of body found in a suitcase,” CNN.com
Alison Gendar and Kerry Wills, “Suspect confesses to gruesome murder of Betty Williams, stuffing her body in a suitcase: sources,” NYDailyNews.com