New York City police are investigating the strangulation death of a nurse who was found naked with her teeth knocked out —N.Y.C. Nurse Discovered by Family Member Strangled to Death and Naked in Bed and her family believes they know who is responsible.
Samantha Stewart was found unconscious by a relative at her family’s Springfield Gardens, Queens, home Tuesday night, a New York City Police Department spokesperson tells PEOPLE. The 29-year-old was naked and wrapped in a blanket at the end of her bed, with her teeth knocked out, according to News 4.
When first responders arrived, Stewart was unresponsive, the NYPD spokesperson says. She had suffered head and neck trauma and was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Stewart died of strangulation, according to the city medical examiner, PIX11 reports.
Reports conflict on who first discovered Stewart’s body.
Stewart was a nurse at Long Island Jewish Hospital, her family told News 4. Her father Kenneth Stewart said that when she didn’t return phone calls over a period of time, relatives assumed she was either busy with work or asleep.
“We thought she was sleeping, because she works a night shift,” Kenneth Stewart told the station, adding, “When she’s sleeping, we try not to disturb her.”
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Police told ABC7 there was no signs of forced entry.
Kenneth Stewart told News 4 he believes a man his daughter was dating killed her, though he said he didn’t know the man’s name. He said police are now looking to identify the man, who was seen on a neighbor’s surveillance camera entering and exiting the home, though it was not clear when the man was captured on tape.
Stewart’s aunt, Ruby Dixon, described Stewart to ABC7 as “the shining star in this family.”
Anyone with information is urged to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).