A 14-year-old girl has been charged with murder in the beating death of a well-known animal rescuer in his home, according to authorities in the US.
The teenager is also charged with robbery, evidence tampering and other counts in the November 4 death of 59-year-old Albert Chernoff in his Philadelphia home, court documents indicate.
Mr Chernoff was pronounced dead at the scene after he was found partially tied to a bed with a head wound and slashing injuries on his chest, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Mr Chernoff, a longtime city employee, went by the nickname of “Alley Cat” and used that name for his one-man cat rescue operation that was featured on the National Geographic reality show TV, Rescue Ink.
Police said a woman was seen leaving the property before they arrived, with them later releasing security footage from inside the home in an effort to identify her.
On November 8, the teenager accompanied by her mother and two attorneys presented to a police station, and the girl was arrested.
She is being held in juvenile detention as she awaits a preliminary hearing on November 27.
One of her lawyers told CNN there was “a lot more” to the situation, and suggested the male victim was not “totally innocent”.
‘We will never forget you’
Makers of the documentary The Cat Rescuers shared a video of Mr Chernoff in the wake of his death, praising him for his “warmth and affability”.
“The world is just a little bit colder today without this wonderful human being. Please take a moment to tell the cat rescuers in your life what they mean to you. We will never forget you, Al,” a Facebook post from the group read.
The Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia also mourned his death in a Facebook post.
“The animal rescue community, and especially the cat community has lost an amazing man,” the post read.
“He was one of the kindest people I've ever met and he would do anything for anyone. You are already missed and there is a hole in the heart of every cat rescuer that will never be filled.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.