Toronto tourists slain in Atlantic City ID'd
Antoinette E. Pelzer. (Atlantic County Department of Public Safety/HO)
TORONTO -- U.S. authorities have confirmed the two Toronto women butchered during an attempted purse snatching while visiting Atlantic City were mother and daughter.
The murder victims' names had been withheld because of difficulties locating next of kin, but Atlantic County prosecutor Ted Housel announced Wednesday that family has now been notified so their identities can be released.
Alice Mei See Leung, 47, and her mom, Po Lin Wan, 80, of Scarborough in east end Toronto, were attacked in broad daylight allegedly by a knife-wielding schizophrenic woman while walking out front of Bally's Atlantic City casino hotel Monday morning.
"The victims were allegedly stabbed multiple times with a 12-inch butcher knife," Housel said in a news release.
It's alleged the assailant first attacked Leung, stabbing her numerous times before turning the knife on her elderly mom when she tried to intervene.
Then when the attacker was unable to pull Leung's purse from her shoulder, the prosecutor alleges she plunged the knife into the younger woman's chest several more times.
An Atlantic City Police officer happened to be patrolling nearby and rushed to save the vacationing Canadians.
Officer Jacob Abbruscato drew his gun and ordered the assailant to drop the knife. She complied and was arrested at the scene.
It's believed the cop managed to stop the frenzied attack within 13 seconds, but it was a few seconds too late.
The two badly wounded women were rushed to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center just down the street and pronounced dead soon after.
An autopsy determined Leung died of "multiple sharp force injuries" including a puncture to her heart, Housel said.
Leung's mother suffered stab wounds to her hand, shoulder and lower body, he said. An autopsy concluded she bled to death.
Antoinette Pelzer, 44, is charged with two counts of murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and robbery.
During her bizarre first court appearance Tuesday, the dishevelled woman was surprised to learn both victims had died and that she was facing two murder raps.
Pelzer also seemed confused throughout her arraignment as the judge read out the allegations against her.
The accused remains in custody at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, Housel said. Her bail is set at $1.5 million.
Pelzer is originally from Philadelphia, Pa., but it's believed she had recently been living on the streets of Atlantic City.
Family members have been talking to U.S. media and claim the mother of three, who has eight grandchildren, suffers from schizophrenia.
Toronto Police say they were asked to locate the victims' next of kin.
Toronto police attempted to find family at a condo in Scarborough, but were unable to, police said.
It's believed relatives were finally located in Hong Kong.