Catherine Woods and father
Dancer led a double life
Parents of slain Ohio woman didn't know she was on B'way - at strip club
The story was reported by:
Rich Shapiro in Columbus, Ohio,
KERRY BURKE, NANCY DILLON, AUSTIN FENNER,
ALISON GENDAR, DEREK ROSE and
TONY SCLAFANI in New York
It was written by CORKY SIEMASZKO
Topless dancer Catherine Woods, 21, above, who was found slain Sunday night in her East Side apartment, with her father, Jon, director of Ohio State University Marching Band, and with parents, sister Victoria, 13, and brother Stephen, 19. Bright-eyed beauty, who left Ohio after high school to find dancing career here, had worked at Chelsea club Privilege and was currently performing at Flash Dancers.
The father of a 21-year-old aspiring dancer flew to New York last night to claim her body, apparently unaware the brunette beauty had been performing on Broadway - at a topless club under the name Ava.
"She was realizing her dream and she was very excited about it," said Catherine Woods' devastated dad, Jon Woods, as he left Columbus, where he is director of the Ohio State University Marching Band.
"She really met the challenge of moving to New York. It took amazing courage."
Her hometown boyfriend, David Haughn, told cops he found Woods - nearly decapitated, with her larynx and jugular vein severed - in the blood-soaked bathroom of their E. 86th St. apartment Sunday night.
Police sources said investigators, for now, are accepting Haughn's alibi that he was fetching his car to drive Woods to a strip joint when she was slain.
"We haven't been able to shake his story," one source said. "He didn't appear to have the time to do the things that we know have happened, and check out and not have blood on him."
Haughn was still at the 19th Precinct stationhouse last night, where he has been ever since Woods' body was found. An aspiring hip-hop musician from Columbus who worked as a doorman at an upper East Side building, Haughn told cops that Woods had been threatened by a man for failing to return some borrowed CDs.
Ken Szymanski, who was a neighbor of Woods and Haughn when they lived on E. 85th St., said they were "very nice, very mellow people" who often jogged together around the Central Park reservoir.
"They seemed kind to each other," Szymanski said.
But something changed in their relationship after they moved to E. 86th St.
Antonio Ramirez, who manages Gracie's Corner Diner at First Ave. and 86th St., said Woods came in just about every day and always ordered a spinach egg-white omelet. But a month ago, Ramirez said, "She came in by herself and I said, 'How's your boyfriend?'
"She said, 'He's not my boyfriend anymore. I broke it off,' " Ramirez said.
Stripping is a bad life, no matter what they show on HBO.
Men often get obsessed with these women and stalking is one of the hazards of the trade. The cops clearly liked the boyfriend, but he didn't do it. The fact is that she was dating the owner of Flashdancers according to one report, and the club's staff denied she worked there to detectives.
So clearly, something was up.
But part of her work problems came from her desperation to be on Broadway at any price. Intead of getting further training, she ran to New York, didn't have the experience to get a lot of Broadway work, and then had the cost of New York living to meet, and the boyfriend wasn't bringing in the cash. When the reality of the money she was making finally hit her, and living on the Upper East Side means it did, the boyfriend became cargo.
The money becomes addictive as well. Thousands a week. That starts to change people. But the price of that is stalkers. It's as likely she picked one up at work than it was someone she knew.
posted by Steve @ 11:26:00 AM