By Iliana Limon

Albuquerque Tribune


Harriet Moldov-Taylor's death was a homicide, medical investigators said.


The 56-year-old disabled Albuquerque woman was found by a Sun Tran bus driver Sept. 27 lying in a pool of blood inside her apartment at 5106 Marquette Ave. N.E.  Medical investigators ruled Monday she died of right cerebral infarct, or inadequate blood flow to her brain, caused by a sexual assault, Tim Stepetic, director of the Office of the Medical Investigator, said.  A full autopsy report will be available next week, Stepetic said.


Moldov-Taylor had missed two dialysis appointments and had been bleeding severely in her apartment for several days.  She was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she suffered several strokes and died Oct. 1.


Albuquerque police found no signs of foul play in Moldov-Taylor's apartment and doubted she was a homicide victim. Her family and friends insisted she was attacked.


"There's never been any question that this was a brutal sexual assault that caused her death," said Carole Ulrich-Fromer, Moldov-Taylor's cousin.  Ulrich-Fromer was pleased by the news but knows making an arrest in the case will be an uphill battle.  "I just hope we haven't passed the point of no return because it has been so long," Ulrich-Fromer said. "I'm afraid it's going to take a fluke to move a case like this forward."


Moldov-Taylor's poor health complicated the investigation, homicide Sgt. Carlos Argueta said last week. Homicide detectives could not be reached for comment Monday.


She weighed about 320 pounds and was 5 feet 6 inches tall. The woman suffered from diabetes, which severely impaired her vision and circulation, and from rheumatoid arthritis, and she could not bend her knees properly.


While homicide investigators were not initially certain Moldov-Taylor was the victim of a homicide, Argueta said, detectives did search for evidence in her apartment.  Detectives will discuss the next step in the case once final reports are available from the Sex Crimes Unit and medical investigators, Argueta said Thursday.


"Even if we found evidence years down the line, we would follow up on it," Argueta said last week. "We will absolutely continue to investigate this case if it is ruled a homicide."


Tennise Gallegos, who has known Moldov-Taylor for 40 years, is relieved the medical investigator is calling her friend's death a homicide.  "It brings some resolution, because we were out on a limb and began to think we were the ones who were a little crazy," Gallegos said. "Now it's official. Somebody hurt her, and they need to find whoever did this."