Orsolya Gaal’s body was discovered stuffed in a hockey bag on Saturday morning in Forest Park in the borough of Queens, New York City
The married mother of two, 51, had reportedly been stabbed nearly 60 times by an unknown attacker in her home and her body was dragged half a mile away and dumped near to a popular walking path on Metropolitan Avenue in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Police followed a trail of blood from the bag that led them about half a mile to an upscale gated community in Forest Hills.
Her 13-year-old son Leo was found alone at home, and was questioned before being released by police.
Ms Gaal’s husband Howard Klein and eldest son Jamie, 17, flew back to New York from Portland, Oregon, where they had been on a trip.
Detectives are piecing together her final moments as they hunt for her killer.
How did Orsolya Gaal die?
Ms Gaal reportedly told her Leo she was going out to see a show on Friday night.
She is believed to have met up with a man before returning to the $2m family home later that evening.
A neighbor spotted Ms Gaal in her yard in the hours before her death.
Police say she was killed in the basement of the home. Sources familiar with the autopsy information say Ms Gaal suffered nearly 60 wounds with knife wounds to her to her neck, torso, left arm, fingers and hand.
Slashes to her palm and fingers appeared to be defensive wounds.
Surveillance footage shows a suspect believed to be the killer dragging a wheeled duffel sports bag containing her body around 4.30am on Saturday morning.
The bag was discovered by a dog walker just after 8am on a popular walking track on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills, along a stretch of road that cuts through a park.
She did not have any ID on her. Police followed the bloody trail back to the family home on Juno St, half a mile away.
They found Leo alone on the top floor of the residence. Neighbors reported that he was led away in handcuffs by police for questioning, before being released later and cleared of any involvement in the crime.
The New York Daily News reported that Leo told investigators he didn’t know where his mother was.
Detectives found no signs of a break-in at the home, and believe the killer was known to Ms Gaal.
Officers have reportedly questioned another teenager who lives in the same Forest Hill neighborhood.
Neighbor John Blankson told the Post he saw Ms Gaal walking around their shared backyard with her dog on Friday.
Chilling text messages
Unnamed police sources toldPIX11 that the killer used Ms Gaal’s cellphone to send a series of chilling text messages to her husband in the hours after she died.
The killer reportedly texted Howard Klein to say: “Your wife sent me to jail some years ago… I’m back.”
He also made an ominous warning: “Your whole family is next.”
Mr Klein, who was traveling back to New York from Portland, told the New York Post he feared his family were still in danger.
“There are concerns about our safety,” he told the post. “Our lives are at risk.”
Mr Klein referred to the out-of-state trip in a since-deleted tweet. He also mentioned hedge-funder Bill Browder’s new book about Vladimir Putin.
“Just landed Portland OR before evaluating Ann Arbor again with my 17-year-old son,” Mr Klein posted.
“Highly recommend ‘Freezing Order’ @Billbrowder a man I’ve followed closely and admired since I started on Wall Street in 1997 broking EMEA & Russian equities to hedge funds like Hermitage.”
No suspects have been named in the case, and it’s unclear what the killer was referring to, and police have described the case as a “mystery”.
Who is Orsolya Gaal?
Ms Gaal is originally from Hungary, and studied at the Budapest Business School College of International Management and Business.
Friends paid tribute to Ms Gaal, a stay-at-home mother, in Hungarian and English on her Facebook page.
“I’ll always remember how passionate you were about your boys and their education,” one friend wrote. “I’m so sorry about how you left this world but i hope you find peace in the afterlife.”
Another said: “A few years ago, you prayed for my little girl for me, and now I’m here praying for your family to be able to get thru this tragedy.”
Ms Gaal’s Facebook page shows she was a keen hiker, skier and traveller, and enjoyed attending live music performances.
According to a social media account, Ms Gaal had recently helped her youngest son Leo fundraise for his bar mitzvah.
Neighbors told the post the bar mitzvah was canceled after Mr Klein contracted Covid.
In a statement provided to The Independentthe NYPD said police received a 911 call at 8.11am on Saturday after a suspicious bag with blood on it was spotted at the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Jackie Robinson Parkway.
Officers found Ms Gaal “unconscious and unresponsive” inside the duffle bag, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
They followed a blood trail was several blocks to her home on Juno St.
“There are no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing at this time.”
Police sources told the post that officers responded to a 911 call at the family home in May 2020 after Mr Klein reported his wife was missing. He later told police that she had been found.
The family had lived in the Tudor-style home for about nine years, according to a neighbour.
Husband Howard Klein founded boutique financial advisory firm RK Equities in 2002, and spent five years working as an investment banker in Hungary.
He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA in finance from Columbia University.
Mr Klein is an expert on in natural resources including, gold, iron ore and lithium, and speaks regularly at investment conferences, according to an online profile.
A gruesome discovery
Glenn Van Nostrand was out walking his two Rhodesian ridgebacks on Saturday morning when he stumbled across Ms Gaal’s body in the duffle bag.
Initially he thought the Bauer-branded bag might have been thrown away.
His suspicions were raised when the dogs became agitated as they neared the bag, and he opened it and looked inside.
Mr Van Nostrand told The Post he thought it might have been a mannequin.
“It didn’t look very fleshy. It was more like a crash test dummy. I thought it was maybe some equipment being used for something. I didn’t think anything of it,” he told The Post.
He then noticed Ms Gaal’s black jeans and waist, and realized he was looking at a body, and called 911. He said Ms Gaal appeared to be lying in the fetal position.
After police showed up, he had intended to drop his dogs at home before going into the precinct to make a full report.
However, his two dogs picked up a scent of blood patches about 100m away from the body.
“Some of the cops followed me and the dogs to it,” he said.
On Monday afternoon, police removed items from the family home in boxes and black plastic bags.
The family have not been seen at home since Saturday afternoon.