Ex-handyman lover sought by cops in NYC mom Orsolya Gaal’s slaying: sources

Freeman

Cops want to question a former handyman lover of slain Queens mom Orsolya Gaal who had intimate knowledge of her home — including where the family kept a spare key, The Post has learned. The man, who has not yet been formally identified as a person of interest or suspect […]

Cops want to question a former handyman lover of slain Queens mom Orsolya Gaal who had intimate knowledge of her home — including where the family kept a spare key, The Post has learned.

The man, who has not yet been formally identified as a person of interest or suspect in the gruesome slaying, is believed to have had a romantic relationship with the 51-year-old married mother of two before the affair went south, law enforcement sources said.

It’s unclear when the relationship began and ended, but according to sources familiar with the case, the man knew where the family kept a spare key at their well-kept Forest Hills Tudor and would have been able to access the home without breaking in.

Gaal was stabbed nearly 60 times sometime in the wee hours Saturday inside the front of the home, with her corpse then taken to the basement, sources and authorities have said. She was stashed in a black Bauer hockey bag similar to one belonging to her kids, and the pouch containing her body was dragged outside and dumped about a half-mile away, leaving behind a trail of blood, cops said.

Police believe the killer knew Gaal because there were no signs of a break-in, and considering the violent nature of the crime, they suspect the attack was personal and fueled by anger specifically toward her, sources said.

Police are looking to question a man who they believe had a past relationship with slain Queens mom Orsolya Gaal, according to sources.
orsolya.gaal.9/Facebook
The man has not yet been named a suspect or person of interest in the fatal stabbing.
The man has not yet been named a suspect or person of interest in the fatal stabbing.
Howard Klein/Facebook

But the grisly slaying did not appear to be pre-meditated, sources said.

“[Detectives] don’t think it was a planned murder,” a law enforcement source said.

“He left a blood trail for five blocks from the house,” the source said.

“It was like a trail of bread crumbs.

“If you want to kill somebody, you try to make it a little cleaner, be a little more prepared. He didn’t go with something to move her body. He took something from the house,” the source said. 

Gaal's husband Howard Klein and older son were away touring colleges during the attack.
Gaal’s husband, Howard Klein, and older son were away touring colleges during the attack.
orsolya.gaal.9/Facebook

“I’m sure with that kind of blood, there’s lots of DNA there,” the source added. “The killer’s DNA has gotta be in that blood. It’s not a clean scene.”

Cops are also looking to speak with several men Gaal had been texting with before her death, sources said, as detectives plastered posters around the neighborhood offering a $3,500 reward in exchange for tips. 

“UP TO $3,500 REWARD FOR INFORMATION REGARDING A HOMICIDE,” the poster states in bold red letters beside a photo of Gaal’s home and the number for Crime Stoppers. 

Gaal went out with friends the night of her death and also spent 40 minutes alone in a local bar.
Gaal went out with friends the night of her death and also spent 40 minutes alone in a local bar.
orsolya.gaal.9/Facebook
Gaal's body being removed from her house in a duffel bag.
Gaal’s body being removed from her house in a duffel bag.

“On Saturday, April 16th, 2022, at approximately 12:40am… An unknown perpetrator stabbed a 51-year-old Orsolya Gaal multiple times causing her death. The victim was found inside a duffel bag along Metropolitan Avenue in Queens,” the poster reads. 

NYPD sources told The Post on Tuesday that detectives had asked the Queens District Attorney’s Office for a search warrant shortly after tracing the blood back to Gaal’s house Saturday morning.

But investigators weren’t given the warrant until early evening, costing them valuable time in gathering evidence, sources said.

The DA’s office did not immediately respond to a Post request for comment.

On Tuesday afternoon, the family’s electrician, Arrjuna Jack, stopped by Gaal’s home, which is still wrapped in crime-scene tape, after he heard that she’d been killed on the news. 

“I’m very startled,” said Jack, 30, adding that he was frequently at the family’s home to do electrical work, as well as some power-washing and painting. 

Police believe the person would have knowledge of Gaal's home since it was not broken into.
Police believe the person would have knowledge of Gaal’s home since it was not broken into.
Kevin C. Downs for The New York Post

“I know her very well. Her husband’s very nice. Her two sons … are very nice as well. … It’s very sad.” 

Jack called Gaal “very beautiful” and said that as far as he could tell, the family didn’t have any issues. 

“She’s a very happy, jolly person all the time. … I see her all the time jogging,” Jack said.

“They’re a very beautiful, quiet family. Very happy all the time.” 

On Friday evening, Gaal headed out with friends to see a show at Lincoln Center before returning to Queens around midnight and hitting a bar in her neighborhood, where she hung out for about 40 minutes alone, apparently waiting for someone, police sources said. 

NYPD officers outside of Gaal's Forest Hills home where she was killed.
NYPD officers stand outside Gaal’s Forest Hills home where she was killed.
Kevin C. Downs for The New York Post

Samson Cornejo, whose father owns 5 Burro Cafe on Austin Street, said Gaal was a regular at the watering hole but added he’s not sure if she was there late Friday. 

“Her house is a 10-minute walk. … She comes here, y’know, she’s been here before. She used to come with some Russian ladies,” Cornejo told The Post on Tuesday. 

“I saw the bag, where they found it, after I left that night. I drove by it after leaving here. I couldn’t believe when I heard. It smacked me when I saw her picture!” 

Gaal’s 13-year-old son was home when cops went to the house Saturday morning after his mother’s body was discovered. The boy was upstairs at the time, and there is no indication he left the house at all overnight, sources said.

Gaal’s husband and 17-year-old son were out of state on a college tour at the time.

A tribute to Gaal laid outside of her home in Forest Hills.
A tribute to Gaal outside her home in Forest Hills.
Elder Ordonez / SplashNews.com

In May 2020, Gaal was briefly reported missing to police after her husband called 911 and said she’d gone for a walk around midnight and wasn’t home by the time he woke up the next morning.

About two months later, she posted an ominous message to a community Facebook page asking for information on how to buy pepper spray. 

“Given the recent attack on a woman in Forest Park and the general uptick of crime and seedy characters in the neighborhood, I sought info here to get mace / pepper spray for my runs in the park,” the post states. 

“Be safe out there!” she wrote. 

Additional reporting by Tina Moore, Larry Celona, Kevin Sheehan and Steven Vago

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