The body of a young Brooklyn woman who was eight months’ pregnant was discovered yesterday in a cardboard box on a sidewalk in the garment center. Ten hours later the police took into custody a part-time elevator operator in a building she had visited. According to the police, the woman, 21-year-old Rachel Brecher, the wife of a rabbinical student, was forced into a large oil-burning furnace in the basement of the building she had visited on Thursday afternoon to buy a coat. The Medical Examiner’s office determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation. The police said the asphyxiation had been caused by the fire. Mrs. Brecher’s body-nude, charred and blood stained- was found with a shopping bag in a cardboard box in front of 244 West 39th Street, where she visited the Gabriel Coat and Suit Company. A sanitation man discovered it at 1 AM yesterday.
At about 9 PM on Thursday night, Mrs. Brecher’s parents, Leah and Harry Klein, went to the building in the hope of finding their daughter, when she failed to return home. They later recalled having passed the cardboard box in which the body had been placed.
excerpt from NYT 2/15/77