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Police searching for suspect in suitcase death

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Dead woman found in suitcase
  • NEW: Woman found dead in suitcase had been strangled, police commissioner says
  • NEW: Victim, age 28, has been identified but family has not yet been notified, he says
  • Man in surveillance video rolling the suitcase was wearing knit hat, leather jacket, light pants

New York (CNN) -- Police are searching for a suspect caught on a surveillance video seen rolling a suitcase later found to contain the strangled body of a 28 year-old woman, officials said.

The grainy video shows a man dressed in a dark knit hat and leather jacket with light-colored pants, pulling a dark-colored suitcase near a stoop in East Harlem.

The man pauses as three people walk by before hauling the suitcase past a dark-colored sport utility vehicle and out of the camera's sight.

"The cause of death is strangulation," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Thursday. "We initially announced it was trauma to the back of the head -- that was the belief of the investigators at the scene."

Police have identified the victim but are not releasing her name because they have not yet notified her family.

"We're talking to relatives and we hope to have more definitive information about her acquaintances that will help in the investigation," Kelly said.

The New York Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in identifying the suspect in the video, according to a police statement.

CNN's Julia Talanova contributed to this report