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(PHILADELPHIA) — Investigators in Philadelphia are trying to unravel a baffling mystery after a hogtied pediatrician was found dead and on fire in the basement of her home.

Police found Melissa Ketunuti, 35, a beloved doctor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Monday in her Center City basement after her dog walker called 911.  Her wrists and ankles were bound behind her back, and she was on fire, police said.

Investigators said she had been strangled with a belt around her neck.  Strangulation appeared to be the cause of death, police say, but they are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

With no evidence of forced entry, police wonder whether she knew whoever attacked her.

“We don’t know if she walked in on individuals inside of her property,” Philadelphia police Capt. James Clark said.  “We don’t know if it’s a known doer or an unknown doer.”

There’s no clear motive, and nothing appeared to have been stolen.  Police have questioned Ketunuti’s boyfriend, but he has not been declared a suspect.

Ketunuti lived alone on a quiet street, and had been there for about three years.

“[She was] super pleasant, really nice,” one neighbor said.  “Just super friendly.”

Ketunuti’s hospital issued a statement Tuesday that she was “a warm, caring, earnest, bright young woman with her whole future ahead of her,” adding that she will be deeply missed.

“It’s going to be just a horrible thing for her family,” a neighbor said.  “She was just a very nice person, very full of life.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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