A Queens handyman was arrested early Thursday in the killing of Orsolya Gaal, who was stabbed 58 times and found stuffed in her son’s duffel bag near her New York City home, according to police.
Essig described Gaal’s death as a “horrendous homicide” and praised officers who “were able to quickly take this killer off the street.”
“I just want to assure the public and especially the residents of Forest Hills that there are no outstanding suspects at this time,” Essig said.
Gaal, a mother of two, was found dead Saturday morning in her son’s hockey bag at an intersection in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, police said. After police found her body just blocks away from her home, the New York medical examiner’s office ruled that the homicide was caused by sharp force injuries to the neck. Authorities found that Gaal had 58 stab wounds to her neck, torso, arm and hand.
The New York Police Department tweeted a photo of a knife Thursday that authorities say is “believed to be the weapon used during the crime.” The knife appears to be consistent with other knives found in the home, said Julie Morrill, deputy chief commanding officer of the NYPD’s Queens North patrol borough.
Police said that shortly after Gaal returned home from a show Friday night at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, Bonola went to Gaal’s residence around 12:40 a.m. Saturday and the two proceeded to get into a “heated argument” in her basement. Bonola had worked as a handyman at Gaal’s home for about two years, police said.
Gaal’s husband and her eldest son were out of town, NBC New York reported. Her 13-year-old son was upstairs at the time, according to authorities.
“They had been off and on, and they had broken up prior but had reunited early in the month of April,” the NYPD said Thursday. “Their relationship was considered at an end.”
Authorities said they think Bonola was either let in voluntarily or used a key that he knew was hidden in a barbecue grill. Lt. Timothy Thompson with the NYPD’s Queens North homicide squad told reporters Thursday that the two were having a “domestic-type dispute” regarding their relationship. They said it was unclear who initiated the breakup.
At some point in the argument, Bonola “ruthlessly and brutally” stabbed Gaal dozens of times, police said. Bonola stabbed Gaal so much that he got blood all over his clothes and suffered wounds to his hands when Gaal tried to fend him off, according to police. Gaal’s teenage son was not involved in the attack and was unaware of what was unfolding, police said.
Video footage obtained by police showed Bonola, who by then had allegedly placed Gaal in the duffel bag, rolling her body down sidewalks, leaving a trail of blood through the Queens neighborhood, Essig said. The bag was left at Metropolitan Avenue and Jackie Robinson Parkway, police said.
When police found Gaal’s body and declared her dead hours later, it did not take authorities long to find leads that pointed them to Bonola, police said. In addition to authorities finding a jacket he allegedly wore during the fatal stabbing, police said, detectives were also able to locate a T-shirt and boots at an undisclosed location that they think Bonola wore at the time of Gaal’s death, as well as bloody bandages. Police noted that Bonola had been treated at a hospital for wounds on both hands.
Essig said police were able to find Bonola on Wednesday night. When he willingly came in for questioning, Bonola “made incriminating statements” about his role in Gaal’s death, Essig told reporters.
Gaal was last seen alive Friday night at the Forest Hills Station House bar and restaurant, where she went after the show at Lincoln Center. Gabriel Veras, the manager of the pub, told NBC New York that Gaal was a “very, very sweet regular.”
“She didn’t seem frightened or scared or panicked. Just enjoying her one drink before going home,” he said. He added, “She left alone and we were in shock the next day. Shock.”
Bonola was expected to be arraigned later Thursday. The investigation remains ongoing, police said.