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Girl, 14, charged with murder of animal rescuer ‘found tied to bed naked’


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A teenage girl has been charged with murder after a man well known in his town for rescuing animals was killed and left naked tied to his bed.

Ajahnae Smaugh,14, is accused of beating Albert Chernoff, 59, to death with a blunt weapon in his home on Monday last week.

She is also charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and possession of an instrument of crime.

Smaugh surrendered herself to the police on Thursday, the Philadelphia Enquirer reports.

Albert, who went by the nickname ‘Alley Cat’ for rescuing strays, was found in the early hours of Tuesday after a neighbour called the police.

He was tied to his bed and had suffered a major head wound and several cuts to his chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

After his death, police shared CCTV footage of a person walking through Mr Chernoff’s living room, washing their hands in the kitchen and then looking inside the fridge and freezer before leaving the house.

The gender of the suspect was not specified but they were seen wearing a black jacket, pink top, red trousers, white trainers, and carrying a black backpack.

It is not clear whether the teenage girl who has been charged is the person that appears in the video.

Buzz Miller, founder of PACT for Animals, posted a moving tribute to his friend who went ‘beyond the call of duty’ in his dedication to animal welfare.

He wrote: ‘The team at PACT is heartbroken to learn of the horrific death of Al Chernoff, a dedicated volunteer at PACT and a dear friend of mine.

‘His love for all animals, but specifically his cat “kids”, numbering 11, was always a conversation Al was eager to share.

‘He was a true hero to everyone who knew him.

‘His behind the scene work on behalf of animal welfare organizations was amazing.’

Mr Chernoff was also a veteran who loved to ride motorcycles and worked as a maintenance worker for the Philadelphia International Airport, 6ABC reported.

After his death, 11 cats, three turtles and two frogs were rescued from his home.


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