HARLEM (WPIX)—Police have arrested a man on murder charges in connection to the body found stuffed in a suitcase on a Harlem street corner.
Officers arrested Hassan Malik, 55, of 307 Pleasant Avenue in Harlem on Monday and charged him with second-degree murder.
Inside the suitcase was the body of Bronx resident Betty Williams, 28, whose leg was protuding from the luggage.
The Medical Examiner's Office ruled Williams' death a homicide and stated she died from asphyxiation.
Malik, who has a criminal background, initially told cops he found WIlliams dead in his apartment, but soon changed his story and admitted choking her with an electrical cord during a dispute over money.
The location of the grisly discovery is just three blocks away from Malik's Pleasant Avenue home. It is also across the street from Jefferson Park and just four doors down from the famed Rao's Restuarant, an Italian cuisine instiution that has been on that Harlem corner for over 140 years.
"It's very strange," Chet Anekwe, who lived in an apartment above Rao's Restaurant, told PIX 11 News.
Anekwe pointed out the restaurant was open and busy when the suitcase was discovered early Wednesday at 12:15 a.m.
Still, he said, "I guess no one noticed it. This block is relatively quiet apart from the clientele at Rao's."
A passerby rifling through the trash at the corner of East 114th Street and Pleasant Avenue found William's body.
Williams also had a long rap sheet, according to NYPD, and was arrested 14 times including a few drug busts.
Malik was due to begin his new job as a drug counselor this week, but is now being held behind bars without bail.
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