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Madman With a Meat Cleaver: The Murder of Kathryn Faughey *UPDATED AGAIN, 2/16/08*

It sounded like the sort of murder a screenwriter might concoct: respected psychologist hacked to death by cleaver-wielding patient. To anyone who entered the office of Dr. Kathryn Faughey after 9 p.m. on Tuesday, it was a terrible reality.

The New York Daily News reported that Faughey was attacked “during a therapy session.” The attack on the therapist was ferocious. A law enforcement source told the Daily News that Dr. Faughey’s killer “bent two knives – the cleaver and a 9-inch blade with a camouflage handle” during the attack.

Dr. Faughey’s colleague tried to help, but therapist Kent Shinbach ended up with severe injuries of his own. He was hospitalized in critical condition.

The blood-soaked killer exited the building through a basement door, passing several security cameras along the way. According to the Daily News, police think they know who killed the psychologist.


One witness told the newspaper that the killer “looked like a psycho.” (Police sketch of the “psycho” is on the left — click to enlarge.)

Kathryn Faughey had a website that explained a type of therapy she used, “adaptation psychology.” About herself, Dr. Faughey wrote that she was “interactive” and that she gave “feedback.” Her approach to cognitive therapy was effective, and practiced in a “warm, clear, and lively manner.”

Dr. Faughey had been interviewed by more than one New York media outlet, and seemed trusted and well-liked. She was mentioned on a webpage created for people with an interest in treating weight problems through therapy. Someone signing off only as “B. N. in NYC” wrote that the doctor was “very friendly open and compassionate. I would highly recommend her.”

On an early version of her site, Adaptation.net, Dr. Faughey explained her work in some detail:

Sometimes people fear that such services make take too long to be effective. Or, that “talking about it won’t help.” Or, that they will be asked to talk extensively about their childhood; to the expense of time and money.

Most people need to talk about the “real” life problems they are currently experiencing.

It may be a health issue; a relationship issue; an employment issue; perhaps it concerns a death; or a diagnosis.

Others cannot put it so easily into words . They may say ,”I just don���t know why I am unhappy.”.

And so, my approach is directed to meet these needs.


I take a two pronged approach. Yes, factors in our past shape our current feelings. These factors are a combination of genes and early family learning. Yet, as we look back we must also look at the present and implement the adaptations necessary to our current positions, problems, and longings.

With careful consideration to each individual’s needs and circumstances; full confidentiality is assured; and, referrals are made to other professionals or techniques when necessary.

Police were still searching for Kathryn Faughey’s killer early Wednesday. He has been described as a “middle aged, blonde-haired male,” and was probably a Dr. Faughey’s patient.

UPDATE, 3:28 p.m. ET

This is incredibly bizarre. The following details have been revealed about the suspected killer of Dr. Kathryn Faughey:

Police said they recovered three knives from the scene including the cleaver; a suitcase on wheels filled with women’s clothing — including slippers and a blouse — and adult diapers; and another bag filled with eight smaller knives that were not believed to have been used in the attack…

So far, this is making the case of Peter Braunstein, the fake firefighter/rapist, look like child’s play.

It’s a cliche in cases like this, but damn, it’s just true — you can’t make stuff like that up. Well, you could, but no one would believe you.

Additional link: New York Times, “Man Sought in Psychologist’s Stabbing.

UPDATE, 2/14/08


In the comments left on this post, “thefirstdiane” linked this NY Daily News article naming Pennsylvania musician William “Bill” Kunsman as the man currently being questioned in connection with Kathryn Faughey’s murder.

Faughey posted to an online forum for Martin devotees as “LittleAnna,” as did Kunsman. The forum has been made private since the therapist’s murder on Tuesday, but a search of “LittleAnna” and “Kathryn Faughey” together gave a few cached results.

At the moment Kunsman is only under questioning in part because of e-mails he apparently sent to Faughey prior to her death. As of Thursday afternoon, he has not been named a suspect in the murder of Dr. Faughey.

Additional link: New York Times article mentioning Kunsman.

UPDATE, 5:42 p.m. ET

Thanks again to “thefirstdiane” for this somewhat unexpected update: “Source: Victim identifies cleaver killer.” Quoting from WABC:

[The] surviving victim of the attack that left a psychologist dead has identified the man questioned today by police in Pennsylvania as the killer. The Distritct Attorney is awaiting forensic evidence before an arrest is made…

Again, that man was one William “Bill” Kunsman. Links to Kunsman’s online presence were removed from the previous update following news that he’d been released from custody by Pennsylvania authorities. One page linked held a bio of Kunsman, which read in part:

William Kunsman began his musical career in 1983 when, fresh out of high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps as a trumpet player for the band. In 1984, while attending the Naval School of Music in Norfolk, VA he began to play guitar and to experiment with songwriting. While in the Marines, William served in field bands in New Orleans, LA and Okinawa, Japan and applied his guitar skills in a jazz/rock ensemble.

Following his military service William tried for several years to put together a hard rock band, without success, but continued to build upon his skill as a guitarist.

In 1993 William made the unlikely transition from hard rock to all acoustic music. He expanded his repertoire when he took-up fiddle and learned to play in the West Virginia, old-timey, mountain style. In the 1990’s, he played with the Pennsylvania-based bluegrass group Willow Creek and was a founding member of the traditional bluegrass band Mountain Heritage. For both groups, Kunsman original compositions were repertoire staples. Bluegrass festival-goers in the NorthEast and listeners of WDIY radio program, Heartland’s Hayride, were soon toe-tapping to William Kunsman’s music.

Both Kunsman’s and Dr. Faughey’s names were on a webpage listing attendees to an event for Martin Guitar devotees in 2006.

A personal opinion: I don’t think the man seen in a photo accompanying this article — it’s Kunsman — resembles the suspect sketch at all. True, the angle is totally different, but he has thick, curly hair and doesn’t appear to be balding. Kunsman also doesn’t appear to be overweight in any of the photos found of him online. Dr. Faughey’s killer could have worn padded clothing, of course — in a murder this strange, you can’t really rule anything out.

I must add this, however — the killer allegedly said to surviving victim Kent Shinbach, “I know where you live.”

The only addresses I could find for a 70-year-old Kent Shinbach outside of his office address in Manhattan were in Pennsylvania.

Additional link: You can buy Bill Kunsman’s Acousticology 101 cd here.

UPDATE, 2/16/08, 4:15 p.m. ET

As has been noted in the comments left on this post, police have a new person of interest in the Kathryn Faughey murder investigation.

The man being questioned in New York is 39 (or 40)-year-old telemarketer David Tarloff. Tarloff reportedly fits the physical description of the suspect and was once a patient of Dr. Kent D. Shinbach, the surviving victim of the attack. Tarloff also has a history of mental illness and violent behavior.

Additional article referencing Tarloff: NY Times, “Queens Man Questioned in Killing of Therapist.”

**UPDATE, 6:43 p.m. ET**

David Tarloff has been arrested. Tarloff apparently told police that he went to the office with a plan to rob the Kent Shinbach, who had Tarloff institutionalized 17 years ago. Tarloff said he would then take his mother and flee the U.S. As Tarloff’s mother was in a nursing home, this may explain the bizarre clues found in the rolling suitcases, including the adult diapers.

(This entry may be updated and revised.)