NEW YORK -- New York City detectives now believe the July death of a fashion designer is linked to a pattern of drug-facilitated robberies that have claimed at least five other lives, according to police sources.
On Friday, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the death of Kathryn Marie Gallagher a homicide from the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl and ethanol.
A neighbor who had helped Gallagher inside the previous night noticed the door to her Eldridge Street apartment closed with the key still in the lock. The neighbor entered to make sure she was ok and found Gallagher face up on the bed.
Gallagher was the victim of a grand larceny, the sources said, and her death is being linked to a pattern of victims drugged and robbed.
A suspect in two prior deaths in the pattern, Kenwood Allen, has previously been charged with murder. At the time of his arraignment, prosecutors said they anticipated additional charges connected to other victims who did not survive.
In all, detectives have been investigating 26 incidents between March 18 and Dec. 8 that include two separate patterns. Five fatal overdoses have been be associated with these patterns.
The pattern is related, but distinct, from a similar group of sometimes fatal drugging/robberies that involved the LGBTQ community.
Gallagher was an American fashion designer and founder of her own brand.
According to a GoFundMe page, Gallagher established her own fashion line called Katie Gallagher in 2010 and completed 26 collections that premiered during New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.
She was working on her 27th collection at the time of her death.
Her funeral was in State College, Pennsylvania, last August.