Abu Dhabi: Police have released CCTV footage and still shots of a suspect who stabbed an American woman to death in Al Reem Island’s Boutique Mall on Monday afternoon.

Describing the perpetrator as a “ghost”, police have yet to identify the gender of the suspect, who escaped following the fatal stabbing.

The video footage released by Abu Dhabi Police shows the suspect as a figure clad in a black abaya, shayla (head scarf), niqab (face cover) and black gloves, who enters the mall and takes the elevator along with other visitors.

The two and a half minute clip shows the murder weapon and snaps filmed by investigators inside the blood-soaked toilet.

Fight in restroom

According to police, witnesses said that a fight broke out in the women’s bathroom in Boutique Mall before the 37-year-old American victim was stabbed. 

A source close to the investigation told Gulf News that the argument is an indication of the suspect’s prior acquaintance with the victim. However, a clear description of the suspect remains missing. Authorities are not ruling out the possibility that the suspect could be a cross-dressing man.

This is not the first time individuals have used traditional clothing to hide from police.  Earlier this year, a man who claimed to be bringing his wife by land through one of the capital’s borders, was found to be harbouring another man dressed as a woman wearing an abaya, shayla, and niqab.

Police hotline

The source also advised individuals who may have any information about the suspect or the case to contact the police at 8002626.

Meanwhile, a security guard working at the mall said the outlet’s security tackles any incident when it happens as long as the suspect is known. However, in cases like this, the police was called to the scene to investigate. The guard said there were cameras that monitor almost the entire mall except for the restrooms.

Close cooperation

An Indian expat, M.P., who works on Reem Island and visits the Boutique every day for lunch, said: “I am not afraid of what happened because it is an isolated incident that involved two women fighting. I will keep coming here.”

“We would like to stress that Khidmah is working closely with the police and related authorities to fully assist with the investigation,” Khidmah Management

Company said in a statement sent to Gulf News for Aldar properties, which operates all Al Reem Island projects. “We want to reassure our residents that their safety and well-being are our priority, and although this incident has caused shock and disbelief throughout the community, there is no cause to be concerned for the safety of yourselves and families,” it said.

- Sami Zaatari is a trainee at Gulf News