Community Mourns Loss Of CHOP Doctor - FOX 35 News Orlando

Community Mourns Loss Of CHOP Doctor

Posted: Updated:
A large group gathered outside of the home where Melissa Ketunuti's body was found Monday. A large group gathered outside of the home where Melissa Ketunuti's body was found Monday.
Jason Smith, 36, made his first appearance in court Thursday night  for the murder of Center City doctor Melissa Ketunuti. (Courtesy: Philadelphia Police Department) Jason Smith, 36, made his first appearance in court Thursday night for the murder of Center City doctor Melissa Ketunuti. (Courtesy: Philadelphia Police Department)

A Levittown exterminator made his first appearance in court Thursday night for the murder of Center City doctor Melissa Ketunuti.  Jason Smith, 36 is being held without bail on murder, arson and related charges.

Meanwhile about 80 friends, neighbors and co-workers held a candlelight march to the front door steps of the Naudain Street home where Ketunuti was killed on Monday.

"There are these amazing people and there's so much love and support that I have always felt at every stage" said Ketunuti's boyfriend Levon Utidjian.

Neighbors in the area felt compelled to come out on a bitter cold night to pay their respects. Most finding comfort that someone is behind bars for the murder.

"It points out that it could happen to anybody at anytime anyone of us lets people in to our houses without doing background checks or having somebody else present" said neighbor Julia Bringhurst.

Ketunuti's body was found hogtied, strangled and burned by her dog walker Monday afternoon. Police say Smith confessed to the crime. Smith was hired to remove rodents from Ketunuti's home when police say there was some sort of argument.

"It went terribly wrong at that point he struck her and while she was in the basement knocked her down strangled her to death and ultimately set her body on fire" said Homicide Unit Capt. James Clark

Police arrested Smith in less than 48 hours after the murder. They say video surveillance helped catch Smith as he parked his silver Ford F-150 pick-up truck nearby Ketunuti's house. Cameras also captured Smith driving around the block twice after the murder. Detectives say Smith's phone number was on Ketunuti's phone and traced the number to Smith's Levittown home.

"You have a young physician that dedicated her life to helping people and to die in this tragic way is sad" said Clark.

Smith was a unknown to police, having only minor offenses. Smith is scheduled to appear in court again on February 13.

  • Chris O'Connell ReportsMore>>

  • A Grieving Mother Shares Her Son's Story In Hopes Of Saving Lives

    A Grieving Mother Shares Her Son's Story In Hopes Of Saving Lives

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:18 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:18:01 GMT
    2-years-ago the Collas family, Jackie, Jake, Aiden, Bella, and Hayes were ecstatic with their new addition.Curren the golden haired kid with the bright blue eyes and big belly laugh made this family complete.“I would go in the morning, wake him up, 'Good morning mama!' like so happy to see me, that was the best part of my day,” his mother said.However, that all changed on the morning of February 25th."So I went up to get him dressed. I opened the door, like I always do, and I saw right away t...
    2-years-ago the Collas family, Jackie, Jake, Aiden, Bella, and Hayes were ecstatic with their new addition.Curren the golden haired kid with the bright blue eyes and big belly laugh made this family complete.“I would go in the morning, wake him up, 'Good morning mama!' like so happy to see me, that was the best part of my day,” his mother said.However, that all changed on the morning of February 25th."So I went up to get him dressed. I opened the door, like I always do, and I saw right away t...
  • Police Search For Suspect In Attempted Abduction Of 16-Year-Old Student

    Police Search For Suspect In Attempted Abduction Of 16-Year-Old Student

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:26 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:26:47 GMT
    Collingdale Police are trying to find a man they believe tried to abduct a 16- year-old student at Academy Park High School.
    Collingdale Police are trying to find a man they believe tried to abduct a 16- year-old student at Academy Park High School.
  • Doctor, Daughter Accused In Haverford Home Marijuana Bust

    Doctor, Daughter Accused In Haverford Home Marijuana Bust

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:24 AM EDT2014-04-24 11:24:30 GMT
    Haverford Police have arrested a local doctor and his daughter accused of growing and distributing marijuana inside their home.Haverford Police have arrested a local doctor and his daughter accused of growing and distributing marijuana inside their home.
    Haverford Police have arrested a local doctor and his daughter accused of growing and distributing marijuana inside their home.
    Haverford Police have arrested a local doctor and his daughter accused of growing and distributing marijuana inside their home.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices