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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    Woman used dead man’s severed thumb to steal from bank account, police say

    A woman accused of using the severed thumb of her “sugar daddy” to steal money from his bank account and pay for Uber rides, marijuana and alcohol faces a charge of first-degree murder in the man’s killing, according to court records.

    Police found Fasil Teklemariam, 53, in his apartment on Peabody Street NW in Washington’s Brightwood neighborhood on April 5 with several traumatic injuries and a missing right thumb, charging documents say. A doctor who performed Teklemariam’s autopsy determined he had suffered multiple blunt-force fractures to his head, several lacerations and a stab wound. The doctor determined that Teklemariam had been killed two to five days before police found him and that his thumb had been severed shortly before or after his death.

    Police are investigating at least four suspects who were seen on surveillance footage entering Teklemariam’s apartment and carrying items out of it in the days before police found him dead, according to charging documents. Tiffany Taylor Gray, 22, was arrested in Prince George’s County earlier this month on a warrant for first-degree murder while armed; she will be extradited to Washington, according to D.C. police. An attorney was not listed for Gray in online court records.

    Authorities have also charged Audrey Denise Miller, 19, with first-degree murder while armed in connection with the killing. Surveillance video shows Miller with Teklemariam before his death, the charging documents say. Miller has been ordered held without bond ahead of her trial, and is scheduled for another court appearance later this month. Two men who were seen entering Teklemariam’s apartment are also under police investigation in connection with the homicide, according to charging documents.

    An anonymous witness told police that Gray and Teklemariam knew each other and referred to him as Gray’s “sugar daddy,” court records say. The witness told police that the group of people involved in the attack had cut off Teklemariam’s thumb and said they had observed Gray using Teklemariam’s severed thumb to steal money from his account.

    While surveillance footage referenced in court records places the suspects in and around Teklemariam’s apartment in the days surrounding the killing, the records do not contain more information about the alleged attack itself. The last time Teklemariam was seen alive on surveillance footage was on the evening of April 1, according to court records. He is seen in footage going to meet Miller outside his apartment and then going back inside with her, the records say. He exited about 20 minutes later and returned shortly after with three cans of soda, according to court records. After that point, according to police, footage shows the suspects exiting his apartment. Cellphone data shows that Teklemariam’s phone left the area of his apartment late that night, according to the charging documents.

    When police filed charges against Miller last month, detectives still had not located Teklemariam’s thumb, cellphone, tablet or any other electronic devices, the documents say.

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