‘Person of interest’ in Sabina’s murder

PHILADELPHIA. Sabina Rose O’Donnell could have passed by her killer before the night of her murder and not even known it.

Police released surveillance footage Thursday showing a man they call a “person of interest” riding a bicycle in the area of Fourth and Girard around 2:50 a.m. Video shows O’Donnell and the man riding in opposite directions on North Fourth Street before he turns around and follows her near her apartment.

Police have not declared the man a suspect because they have not identified him and determined his exact connection to the incident, but they said it’s likely he lives in the area.

“We think he was on the prowl looking for a victim,” said Homicide Capt. James Clark. “We’re hopeful that somebody saw him out there riding around.”

Investigators recovered a white sleeveless t-shirt from the scene that may have belonged to the man shown on the video, and are awaiting DNA test results from evidence.

O’Donnell was beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled to death, police said. Her body was found Wednesday morning in a grass lot next to her apartment. Clark said yesterday investigators think the suspect snatched her off the bike and then attacked her.

The slaying has disturbed neighbors in the normally quiet communities of Kensington South and Northern Liberties. Businesses and well-wishers have donated $25,000 for a reward and dozens turned out for a memorial Thursday night to celebrate the 20-year-old.

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