Police are searching for the person or persons responsible for the brutal murder of a Philadelphia woman who was viciously attacked on the shortcut she regularly took home.
Debra Gulliver, 33, was on her way home after a night out with friends when she walked through a park behind Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School at about 2:30 a.m., Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit Captain James Clark told reporters.
Surveillance footage uncovered by investigators showed her entering the park alone about a half hour before her body was discovered, officials said.
“No one was following her," Clark said. "Whoever did this, we believe, was already in the park."
A passerby who was robbed by two men inside the park then found Gulliver’s body, according to police.
She was partially clothed, with her pants pulled down to her ankles, was bludgeoned in the face and had been stabbed at least 12 times in her thighs and chest, authorities said.
She had been stabbed until the blade of the knife broke off inside her, according to reports.
Investigators would not confirm whether Gulliver had been sexually assaulted.
As of Tuesday, police had no description of a suspect and no arrests had been made.
Friends and family were devastated by Gulliver’s death, taking to social media to memorialize a woman they said went out of her way to help others.
“No matter what she was going through she would still try to cheer you up if you were feeling sad,” one friend wrote on Facebook. “No matter how long it would go between talking to her it was always like no time had passed. When she was friends with someone she meant it. No one deserves to go out like that but especially not someone like her with so much to give and so much potential.”
Gulliver loved the beach, enjoyed good food and above all else, loved animals — especially cats, her brother wrote on a GoFundMe page created to help raise money for her funeral.
“If she could have saved all the strays she would,” her brother wrote on the page, which as of Tuesday had raised $4,445.
It was not immediately clear whether Gulliver was targeted or attacked at random.
“Be very careful," Clark said. "If you can walk in pairs, don’t walk through dark and desolate areas. We will do our best to get this individual or individuals involved, off the streets.”
Officials are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.