Penn contributes to monetary reward for graduate student's killer

The University and the Medical School each donated $2,500, bringing the total reward to $35,000

· January 23, 2013, 9:09 pm

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Penn and the Perelman School of Medicine both donated $2,500 in reward money for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the killer of Melissa Ketunuti, the Medical School graduate student who was found dead in her home on Monday in what police are treating as a homicide, said Vice President of Public Safety Maureen Rush.

As of press time, police took a 37-year-old man who can be seen on surveillance cameras around Ketunuti’s house in custody and are questioning him as a person of interest. Currently, he has not been charged in the homicide.

The University and Penn Medicine, which includes the University of Pennsylvania Hospital System and the Medical School, were part of a group that helped raise $15,000 as an additional reward on Wednesday, bringing the total reward to $35,000. The original reward was for $20,000, the Philadelphia Police Department announced in a Tuesday press conference.

Penn and Penn Medwere joined by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson — who donated $4,000 — and several other groups and citizens, according to a press release from the councilman’s office.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia gave $2,500; Jeffrey Brown, owner of Brown’s ShopRite and Larry Collins, owner of Collins ShopRite each gave $1,250; and Chairman and CEO of Parkway Corp. Joseph Zuritsky gave $1,000.

The entire $15,000 will be given to the Citizens Crime Commission, according to Rush. The organization offers rewards to help “sweeten the deal” in trying to compel people to report tips on unsolved crimes.

Ketunuti was found in her home lit on fire with her legs and arms bound. Police believe the cause of death was strangulation, Captain James Clark, commanding officer of the Philadelphia Police Homicide Division said in a Tuesday morning press conference.

Ketunuti was both a graduate student at the Medical School pursuing her Master of Science degree in clinical epidemiology, and a pediatrician at CHOP.

Police are asking anyone with information about Ketenuti’s killer to call 215-546-8477.

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