The NYPD is searching for other suspects who allegedly stabbed the Barnard freshman after trying to steal her phone

By KC Baker and Diane Herbst
December 13, 2019 09:57 AM
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Tess Majors Instagram
Credit: Tess Majors Instagram

A 13-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the stabbing death of Barnard freshman Tessa Majors.

The arrest came after the boy, who remains unidentified because he is a minor, allegedly made statements linking himself to the grisly murder.

An NYPD source tells PEOPLE, “We have a 13-year-old in custody, he implicated himself in the crime. Charges will include murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.”

The NYPD is still searching for two others who may be connected with Majors' death.

Majors was killed Wednesday evening when she was cutting through Morningside Park, which is adjacent to the Barnard and Columbia University campuses in northern Manhattan.

In the park, the student encountered a group of teens who tried to rob her and steal her phone, CNN reports.

During the ensuing struggle, Majors was stabbed multiple times, police say, WABC reports.

“During the struggle, one of the individuals pulled out a knife and stabbed her several times,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said Thursday, NBC News reports.

Bleeding and severely wounded, Majors “staggered” back up the stairs to the security guard booth on Morningside Drive, he said.

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A security guard found her lying unconscious near the stairwell and called 911.

She was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Majors was supposed to head home to Virginia this weekend for the holiday break after completing her first semester at Barnard College.

Her grandmother, Martha Burton, tells PEOPLE it is hard to comprehend that Tessa is gone.

“She had a younger brother, two years younger,” Burton says. “I am praying for him. They were so close, I never saw them fight. It's so hard for him.”

Burton says Majors' brother and parents are currently in New York City to claim her body.

Barnard College president Sian Leah Beilock released a public letter to the student body Wednesday morning, reading, “With broken hearts, we share tragic news about the death of one of our students. Earlier this evening, Tessa Majors, a first year student at Barnard, was fatally injured during an armed robbery that occurred off campus in Morningside Park.”

“Tessa was just beginning her journey at Barnard and in life. We mourn this devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman and member of our community,” she wrote. “This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core. Please know that we are all grieving together and I am thinking of you as we process this awful news as a community.”

In a statement provided to PEOPLE, Majors' family said they “lost a very special, very talented, and very well-loved young woman. Tess shone bright in this world, and our hearts will never be the same.”