13-year-old arrested in murder of NYC college student from Charlottesville

U.S. & World

NEW YORK (WRIC) — The New York Police Department has arrested a 13-year-old boy in connection with the murder of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors, three law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The teen — who police say made statements linking himself to the fatal stabbing — was charged with murder, robbery and weapons possession, those sources told ABC News.

Detectives believe there may have been as many as three people involved in the incident, the sources said. A knife was also recovered.

The 18-year-old Charlottesville, Virginia woman was stabbed to death Wednesday night while walking through Morningside Park near campus in Upper Manhattan.

Police said they responded to an assault report at around 5:30 p.m. and found Majors — who had been stabbed multiple times — unconscious. She later died at a hospital.

“We are devastated by the senseless loss of our beautiful and talented Tess. We are thankful for the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from across the country. We would also like to express our appreciation for the efforts of the men and women of the NYPD, who continue to work diligently on this case.”

Majors family

A family spokesperson told ABC News that Tessa is the grandniece of famed football coach Johnny Majors. The spokesperson also confirmed that her father, Inman Majors, is a novelist and English professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

One of Tessa’s neighbors in Charlottesville spoke to 8News Thursday, saying the 18-year-old was a sweet and sincere person who was a role model for her 5-year-old. It’s why the news of her death has left many heartbroken and shocked — and questioning how she could be taken in such a senseless way.

“This is going to change their whole Christmas, their whole family dynamic,” Heather Dillon said. “It’s just tragic, it’s very quick and totally unexpected. She was such a good spirit, so it’s really heartbreaking.”

On Friday, 8News spoke with Major’s friend from school, Laila Hurd, about the tragic loss.

“She was one of the people who really cared about me and really wanted me to be a part of her friend group,” Hurd said. “She was caring, she was open, and honestly, she didn’t care what people thought. She always did what she wanted to do and I thought that was cool and I always wanted to be like her in that way.”

Hurd and Major went to high school and middle school together. Hurd told 8News they were closest in middle school.

“I just remember thinking I could listen to her talk about anything for a long time,” she explained. “I was just learning about social justice issues and just the way systems worked in the world and she seemed to have a very good grasp of that, even in 8th grade. I just remember learning so much from her.”

Last May, Majors interned for the Augusta Free Press. The editor, Chris Graham, spoke with 8News Friday about Major’s work ethic and the shock of her sudden death.

“She wanted to do something really hard,” Graham recalled. “The first story she wanted to cover was a city council budget hearing. She really wanted to do it. So we prepped her for it, gave her some homework so to speak, and she tackled it and did a great job.”

Just as her college career was taking off, her life was taken from her this week. Those who knew her say she will always be remembered as an unapologetic free spirit and musician, dedicated to making a difference.

“It’s tragedy beyond comprehension. Anybody as a parent would have been proud to have her as a kid. And we were certainly proud to have her as an intern,” Graham told 8News.

“To see her gone was so shocking because she was someone was so strong and I don’t know, it was kind of a cruel reminder that you can be this wonderful, beautiful person ​and be gone in an instant.” ​

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ‘She was such a good spirit’: Community mourns college freshman from Virginia stabbed to death in armed robbery

RELATED: College freshman from Virginia fatally stabbed near New York City campus

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