KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A 17-year-old boy who had been thinking about killing someone was arrested after fatally stabbing a 16-year-old girl leaving her Kissimmee apartment for school Thursday, police said.
Anas Muhammad was arrested on a charge of murder in the death of Paola Pagan, who was found Thursday morning suffering from life-threatening injuries at Kensington Apartments, according to Kissimmee police.
Pagan later died at HCA Florida Osceola Hospital.
“During the investigation... of Mr. Muhammad, it was apparent he had very dangerous thoughts about killing someone, and unfortunately, he was able to carry this one out,” Kissimmee Police Department Deputy Chief Betty Holland said at a news briefing on Friday.
According to police, Muhammed, who goes by “Nas,” stabbed Pagan while she was leaving for school at around 6:20 a.m.
“Then she actually worked her way back into her house and her family (were the ones) to find her,” she said.
A 911 caller told dispatch the girl had a “hole in her neck” and “it looks like a stabbing or something, something punctured.”
“I think someone attacked her, from what it looks like. From what it looks like, it looks like a knife wound or something,” the caller said.
Holland added Pagan and Muhammad were estranged friends, who had not spoken in about 2 years.
According to a juvenile arrest warrant, he had broken off the friendship because he thought Pagan “was the reason their group of friends had split up over smoking cannabis.”
The arrest warrant shows Muhammad knew that Pagan left a certain time to go to school and waited at the bottom of the stairs until she walked out of the breezeway before stabbing her with a small, black pocketknife an unknown number of times, adding he thought she would be an “easy target.”
Muhammad told police “if someone else walked out of the breezeway, he would have done the same thing to them,” according to the arrest warrant.
“I believe that it could have been anybody. I guess for a period of time, he’s had these thoughts that he just wanted to carry out this particular crime and she just happened to be that person at that time,” Holland said.
One of the victim’s friends, Joaquin Corona, said he is still processing the loss after this seemingly random act of violence.
“It hurts because I didn’t think it would happen to her of all people,” Corona said. “It doesn’t make sense why he chose to hurt her.”
Police said an investigation led them to Muhammad, who lived at the apartment complex, as did Pagan. He was initially brought in as a character witness, but later confessed to stabbing Pagan after initially lying about what time he woke up and where he was, officers said.
He added ran away when she screamed and discarded his clothes and knife near the Kissimmee Bridge on John Young Parkway, the arrest warrant reads.
“There’s just so much to take in,” Corona said. “I don’t understand why he would want to hurt Paola. Especially since she was such a nice caring and understanding person.”
At a news briefing Friday, Holland said it was a true “whodunit” until detectives tracked down anyone Pagan was associated with.
Muhammad was booked into the Juvenile Detention Center, where he was being held without bond.
“Just be aware of your children, what they’re doing, who they’re hanging around with and get to know who they are, their ups and downs. We all have good and bad days and so do our kids and so just be involved in their lives,” Holland said at Friday’s briefing. “I’m just glad that the police department was able to bring some kind of closure to the family within a relatively short period of time. My heart goes out to them.”
A representative from the Osceola County school district told News 6 that Pagan attended Osceola High School and that grief counselors would be made available Friday for students and staff. Police added that Muhammad did not attend
“She was quiet, but she also had many friends. Everybody around the school knew about her. Everybody had a connection to her,” Corona said.
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