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Teen-age Monk Confesses To Slaying

March 26, 2001

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MIAMI (AP) _ A woman was found stabbed to death at the Eastern Orthodox Church school where she lived and worked, and an 18-year-old monk confessed to the slaying, police said Monday.

Mykhaylo Kofel, a Ukrainian national belonging to the Byzantine Monastic Order of the Eastern Orthodox Church, was being held without bond. He was charged with first-degree murder, armed burglary and the use of a weapon during a felony.

The nude body of the 39-year-old woman was found in her on-campus residence at the Holy Cross Academy on Sunday after she failed to show up at Mass, Miami-Dade Police Director Carlos Alvarez said. Her name was being withheld pending notification of her family.

Alvarez said she was killed late Saturday night or early Sunday.

``This was not a random act of violence, and the victim and the suspect knew each other,″ Alvarez told a news conference.

The academy shares its campus with the Eastern Orthodox monastery in the well-to-do Kendall neighborhood in unincorporated Miami-Dade County southwest of Miami. The suspect had been at the monastery for about four years.

Police refused to say whether the victim was one of the nuns who live and work on campus.

``There are only a few nuns there, and we have not yet spoken with the family,″ Alvarez said.

Authorities said they did not know if the woman had been sexually assaulted. Alvarez said investigators developed some information early Sunday evening and interviewed an individual who gave a detailed confession. He did not comment on a possible motive.

``Obviously, there are a lot of parents who are concerned, a lot of students who are concerned, and the community, too,″ he said.

There was no immediate response to a message left on the academy’s answering machine seeking comment from Holy Cross officials.

Classes continued on Monday, though some students appeared visibly upset and left early with their parents.

``This is a wonderful school, an incredible school,″ said Zoraya Regalado, who had brought her niece to school. ``This is really shocking. How could it happen here? We don’t know.″

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