Teen in Custody in Connection to Murder of Man Found Beaten and Tied to Bed in Philadelphia Home

Al Chernoff was an Army veteran and animal advocate. He was also well-known in the local animal care community.

What to Know

  • A man was found beaten and slashed to death inside a Northeast Philadelphia home early Tuesday.
  • Police say Al Chernoff was also partially tied to a bed.
  • On Thursday, a 14-year-old girl, considered a person of interest, surrendered Thursday to face police questioning.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 14-year-old girl, who has not yet been identified, will be charged with murder and related offenses, homicide detectives said Friday night.

Philadelphia police took a teen into custody Thursday night in connection with the homicide investigation of a 60-year-old man who was found beaten, slashed and partially tied up inside his Northeast Philadelphia home, officials confirmed.

The 14-year-old is considered a person of interest and has not been charged, accrording to Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter.

The girl, accompanied by her attorney, surrendered to police Thursday after a video was released from inside victim Al Chernoff's Algon Avenue home. 

Chernoff was found dead shortly before 3 a.m. Tuesday after police received a report of a man in distress. Investigators said Chernoff was partially tied to the bed and had a massive head wound, as well as several slashes on his chest.

Police later released surveillance video of a person who they said may have killed Chernoff inside his home on Monday around 10:30 p.m. Sources said the suspect was likely a sex worker and was inside Chernoff's home for about an hour before leaving.

"We'll explore every avenue and try to determine what really happened there and then, obviously, why it happened," Coulter said.

She added that the investigation is ongoing.

"It's extremely troubling. It was a very brutal murder," Coulter said.

Chernoff was well known in the animal care community and had 11 cats, as well as pet turtles and frogs. Each of the animals were placed in a local rescue group.

"Al was literally like one of the best people I've ever met," Chernoff's friend, Angelo Ruffo, told NBC10. "Anything you needed he would do. He was known for building shelters for all the feral and stray cats in the city. He was a good man."

Chernoff's family said he talked about retiring from his job as a city worker at Philadelphia International Airport. Those who knew him remembered him as a giving and loving man.

"If you have interacted with a cat rescue or helped trap in Philadelphia, you've probably met him," Blake Martin of ACCT Philly told NBC10. "He was an old Army veteran who loved his motorcycles and loved his cats." 

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