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Nancy Grace

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Pediatrician’s body found burned, bound in basement

  • Melissa Ketunuti's body was found on fire in her basement on Monday afternoon by dog walker
  • Philadelphia police await official cause of death but 'leaning toward strangulation'
  • No suspects identified at this time, nothing ruled out

Police say they have no suspects at this time in the death of a Philadelphia pediatrician whose body was found on fire in the basement of her home Monday.

The burning body of 35-year-old Melissa Ketunuti was discovered by her dog walker at her Naudain Street home on Monday afternoon. Her ankles and wrists had been bound.

A Philadelphia police spokeswoman said Tuesday that authorities have not found any signs of forced entry at the house. Homicide detectives are pursuing many leads, and the investigation remains open and active.

“They haven’t ruled anything out,” Officer Tanya Little told HLN.

Little said police are still waiting for autopsy results to confirm a cause of death, but they are “looking toward strangulation.”

Police Captain James Clark told reporters Tuesday that officers are looking at receipts and surveillance video as they construct a timeline of Ketunuti’s activities on Monday morning, according to WPVI

Ketunuti had written on her blog in October 2008 that she moved to Philadelphia from Washington, D.C., to begin a residency in the pediatrics program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“The CHOP pediatrics program, aside from being one of the largest in the country (40 something residents per year), is an incredibly supportive program,” Ketunuti wrote. “People are rooting for my success and education, which is a very different vibe than at Georgetown. As sexy as it was to be a life-saving surgeon, I feel much better suited for pediatrics.”

Anyone with information regarding Melissa Ketunuti’s death is asked to contact the Philadelphia Police Department Homicide Division at 215-686-3334.

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