Thirty-four-year-old artist Corrina Mehiel was murdered in a Washington, DC, apartment near Capitol Hill on Tuesday, March 21, Peter Hermann, Lynh Bui, and Michael E. Ruane of the Washington Post report.
The artist was temporarily staying in DC while collaborating with Conceptual artist Mel Chin on “The Fundred Reserve,” an exhibition at George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. Visitors to the school are invited to create hand-drawn $100 bills to illustrate the price of protecting kids from lead poisoning.
Mehiel was bound and fatally stabbed in the basement apartment of a rowhouse located on the 600 block of 14th Street NE. As a resident of Burnsville, North Carolina, Mehiel intended to stay at the residence throughout the duration of the project. Chin said that he last saw Mehiel on Sunday night, when he and his wife hosted a dinner party at their home.
On Monday, March 27, the police arrested suspect El Hadji Alpha Madiou Toure. The twenty-eight-year-old man was described as homeless by police. He has an extensive criminal record and previous convictions for making terrorist threats, assault, and robbery. The authorities said that he was also wanted for violating probation in Tennessee. Toure was charged with first-degree murder and theft for stealing Mehiel’s blue four-door 2004 Toyota Prius and credit and bank cards.
At a news conference held shortly after Mehiel’s body was found, acting police chief Peter Newsham said that there was no sign of forced entry and that the crime was most likely not random. However, there appears to be no connection between Toure and Mehiel.
Born in Seattle in 1982, Mehiel was a project assistant at Mel Chin Studio and a former teacher at the Corcoran School and the Art Academy of Cincinnati. She received her MFA from the University of Cincinnati and her BA from Pennsylvania State University. In an e-mail to members of the Corcoran School, a George Washington University spokesman said, “Corrina was a vibrant and talented individual who will be dearly missed.”