Arrest made in the fatal stabbing of a DAAP graduate, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts
Update, March 28: Washington DC police announced Tuesday that an arrest has been made in connection with the death of former Cincinnati Academy of Art professor and DAAP graduate Corrina Mehiel.
El Hadji Alpha Madiou Touré, 28, was arrested on Monday. Police say he was originally arrested for an outstanding warrant in a jurisdiction outside of DC
Touré is charged with first degree murder and theft. Mehiel was found stabbed to death at a DC residence on March 21.
Police said Touré had no fixed address. Investigators have revealed no motive for the murder.
March 25 update: Washington DC police have released more information about a possible suspect wanted in connection with the Tuesday murder of Corrina Mehiel, a former Cincinnati Academy of Art teacher and DAAP graduate.
Police have released more photos and surveillance footage of a person of interest. Investigators said the man is believed to have frequented the Laurel and Beltsville areas of Maryland since the murder.
Mehiel’s car, which went missing after his death, was found by police, officials said.
ORIGINAL STORY: Corrina Mehiel, a former Cincinnati Academy of Art teacher and DAAP graduate, was found fatally stabbed and bound in a Washington DC residence on Tuesday.
Police were called to the 600 block of 14th Street, northeast just after 4 p.m. Mehiel was pronounced dead at the scene. She had been stabbed several times.
Investigators are looking for both his car and a suspect captured by a surveillance camera in Maryland. The individual was spotted at a facility located in the 5000 block of Garrett Avenue in Beltsville.
Mehiel was driving a blue 2004 Toyota Prius with a Kentucky license plate of 722 RMY. The vehicle has a yellow bumper sticker under the license plate.
The Metropolitan Police Department Homicide Branch reported that Mehiel was from Burnsville, North Carolina. However, the 34-year-old was born in Seattle and lived in the Cincinnati area for several years.
Mehiel received her master of fine arts from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning in 2013, according to her website.
Flavia Bastos, art education teacher at DAAP, said she still denies Mehiel’s departure. She remembered her multifaceted, independent and courageous student, and noted that she was not careless.
“She was an example of the new generation of artists who really want to put their talents and their services at the service of creating a better world,” Bastos said. “I really think she did, and in doing so she really touched the lives of the people she came in contact with.”
Bastos and Mehiel traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany together to talk about Mehiel’s “Clothes Swap Cincinnati” project, which aimed to transform the normally private practice of clothing trading into an event that brings the community together.
“It was probably one of my favorite conference experiences,” Bastos said. “She was a very mature and sophisticated student…she was just graceful and insightful. It was just fabulous.”
From 2014 to last year, Mehiel was an adjunct professor at the Academy of Arts, teaching courses in sculpture, art, design and social practice.
While there, she made a short film, led a community art project at the Center for Contemporary Art, and partnered her class with Corrina’s Art Academy with the Cincinnati Department of Health and ” Operation Paydirt” by artist Mel Chin. to explore how art and design can impact lead contamination issues in Cincinnati.
More recently, Mehiel worked with the Mel Chin Studio, which participated in the “Fundred Reserve” of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in Washington DC.
In a statement on Thursday, Jennifer Spurlock, director of community education at the school, recalled Mehiel’s plan to plant flowers in the old parking meters around Findlay Market.
“Her dress was as bright as her smile which was as bright as the flowers she planted. It was all part of a social art project,” Spurlock wrote. “It was Corrina. Her spirit, her smile, her social impact was a complete package.
The Academy of Arts said Thursday it was accepting donations made in Mehiel’s memory. Bastos has no doubt that his former student will be remembered.
“For a 34-year-old woman, she already has a tremendous legacy,” Bastos said. “Those of us who interacted with her, who met her, who considered her a friend can take some comfort in the fact that she is bigger than her life.”
For the UC professor, Mehiel was more than a student.
“Teachers are supposed to inspire students, but I think once in a while a student inspires you to be the best you can be,” she said. “She helped me see the world in a different way.”
DC police are asking anyone with information about Mehiel’s murder to call 202-727-9099. Anonymous information can also be texted to 50411.