ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - U.S. authorities investigating the stabbing deaths of two Canadian tourists during a mugging said the victims were a 47-year-old woman and her 80-year-old mother, who tried to aid her.
Po Lin Wan and her daughter Alice Mei See Leung, both from the Scarborough suburb of Toronto, were killed by a Philadelphia woman across the street from Bally's Atlantic City, the Atlantic County prosecutor's office said Wednesday.
The office also corrected a chronology of the attack it initially released Tuesday night.
It said Wednesday that the younger woman was being stabbed numerous times in her upper body with a 12-inch butcher knife when her mother came to her aid and also was stabbed.
Autopsy results determined that Po Lin Wan bled to death, while her daughter died from being stabbed in the heart. A prosecutor's office news release Tuesday night had reversed their causes of death.
Authorities said the suspect, Antoinette Pelzer, was trying to steal a pocketbook from one of the women.
Pelzer is charged with murder and was being held on $1.5 million bail. Her aunt says Pelzer has been homeless and mentally ill for years.
During her initial court appearance Tuesday, Pelzer acted strangely by laughing, frowning, grimacing and repeatedly asking where her lawyer was
The attack took place a half-block from a hospital trauma centre, and a police officer who saw it happening ordered Pelzer to drop the knife, which she did, authorities said.
The killings took place in the heart of Atlantic City's new tourism district, a state-designated jurisdiction encompassing the casinos, boardwalk and shopping districts. The district is the centerpiece of Gov. Chris Christie's efforts to make the nation's third-largest gambling market clean and safe, and thereby more attractive to tourists.
Pelzer had been living in an Ohio shelter until December, when her mother brought her back to Philadelphia, said Pelzer's aunt Nadine King, also of Philadelphia.
The killings marked the third and fourth homicides involving visitors to Atlantic City in the past two years.
Exactly two years before the women were attacked, a casino patron from northern New Jersey was carjacked inside the Taj Mahal casino parking garage and later killed. A man convicted in that case is to be sentenced on Thursday.
In September, another casino patron, also from northern New Jersey, was carjacked from the same garage and later fatally shot. Three young men are awaiting trial in that case.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC