UPDATED: Visiting Pratt Professor Found Dead

April 11, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Suspect is Her Son

NEW YORK (AP) — A schoolteacher was on the phone with a 911 operator to report her son was having a seizure when the 19-year-old attacked her and beat her to death, police said.

The woman's screams were heard by the operator and neighbors Tuesday. By the time police got to their Manhattan apartment at 300 W. 55th Street, she was bloodied and unconscious.

Karyn Kay, 63, was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Authorities say she suffered broken ribs, a fractured skull and internal bleeding. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.

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The son, Henry Wachtel, was taken into custody on murder charges. He has no history of violence, but had a history of seizures. There was no indication he used a weapon, police said, and investigators were trying to determine what happened.

Wachtel was briefly hospitalized and was awaiting a court appearance Wednesday. It wasn't clear if he had an attorney.

A neighbor, Jonathan Cohen, told the Daily News of New York that the son was very upset, apologized and said he didn't mean to do it. Cohen said Wachtel, who attends Fordham University, suffered from health problems.

Kay was a writing teacher at LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts. She is also listed as a visiting instructor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she taught humanities and media studies, according to Pratt's website.

She wrote and produced the feature film, "Call Me."

Her students remembered her as a giving and gifted teacher.

"She took her time out to help me because she cared," La Guardia High School senior Alessandra Rao told the Daily News.

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