PLYMOUTH (CBS) – Police are searching for a man wanted in a “vicious attack” that left a Quincy College professor dead in her Plymouth apartment.
During a Saturday news conference, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said 76-year-old Vibeke Rasmussen, a Quincy College professor, died after she was stabbed more than 35 times in her apartment Thursday night.
Plymouth police were called to Tideview Path around 1 p.m. to check on Rasmussen. When no one answered, officers gained access to her apartment where they found her body. Investigators say neighbors heard a woman screaming in the area of her apartment.
Police identified 24-year-old Tyler Hagmaier as the suspect in Rasmussen’s death. Hagmaier lived in the apartment across from Rasmussen.
The motive is a mystery, but one neighbot told WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith says police were asking him if he knew anything about a dispute between tenants.
“Apparently there was an argument above me. I was on the second floor right here (and) it was up here,” neighbor Kevin Harkins told WBZ.”I guess someone was arguing about smoking and then something happened.”
Neighbor David MacFarlane remains uneasy after hearing the news.
“It sounds like the person was butchered,” he said. “That means there is a lot of anger in that individual and that’s a darn shame.”
Around 10 p.m. on Friday, police in the western Massachusetts town of Gill found Hagmaier’s silver Prius abandoned at French King Bridge.
Neighbors reported hearing a splash at Connecticut River, and officers later searched the water below but did not find Hagmaier. The search will continue on Sunday.
Hagmaier has a history of mental illness, investigators said.
In recent months, Plymouth police had a violent encounter with Hagmaier when he had to be subdued with a stun gun and also a beanbag gun. Police chief Michael Botieri says Hagmaier was not arrested at the time.
Police tried to get him help for what they called a “suicidal ideology.”
Investigators said Hagmaier should be considered dangerous and he should not be approached if seen. Police said the attack was not random.
Early Saturday evening, Quincy College released a statement about Rasmussen, who was an “integral part” of the community and worked at the school for seven years.
“She was a gifted instructor who taught science at our Plymouth campus, and her untimely death saddens us all,” reads the statement. “She will be greatly missed by both her colleagues and her students in the Quincy College community.”
State and Plymouth police are investigating the case.
Anyone with information is asked to call Plymouth police at (508) 830-4218.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith contributed to this report.