Family Dollar shopper stabbed to death with knives plucked from store’s shelves
BRECKENRIDGE HILLS, Mo. — A Tennessee woman grabbed two knives from the shelf at a Family Dollar store Tuesday and began stabbing a customer in the head, fatally wounding the victim.
Cameka Cathey, 34, of Memphis, was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the attack. She is accused of stabbing Marybeth Gaeng, 65, inside the Family Dollar Store at 9730 St. Charles Rock Road.
Cathey entered the Family Dollar store and retrieved two knives from the shelf, according to court documents. She then approached Gaeng and stabbed her in the head. While employees were trying to help Gaeng, Cathey stabbed her in the head again.
Police said the two were strangers.
“They did not know each other,” Police Chief John Griffin said. “There was no conversation, nothing, during that time. She just approached the victim and just started stabbing the victim in the face and the head area.”
Gaeng was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Griffin and an officer who responded to the stabbing call found Cathey at a gas station near the Family Dollar.
“We observed the perpetrator exiting the store with some paper towels wiping the blood off her hands,” Griffin said.
Police later found both steak knives believed to have been used in the attack on the parking lot of the Family Dollar, where Cathey said she had dropped them, Griffin said.
Cathey had been in police custody twice over the weekend, including once for allegedly stealing a car from an auto shop in Breckendrige Hills, Griffin said, but he was unsure of when exactly she was arrested.
“She got arrested for possession of stolen property, she was in a stolen car,” Griffin said. She was released while charges were being considered, he said.
“That was a misdemeanor case and she was released pending warrant application,” he said.
Marvin Johnson, a manager at Mr. J’s Auto Repair Center in Breckenridge Hills, said Cathey broke into the shop and stole a Dodge Avenger about 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Staff and police were notified of the break-in by an alarm system, he said.
Police recovered store surveillance footage that captured the break-in and theft, Johnson said. He did not know more details.
Several hours before she allegedly stole the car in Breckenridge Hills, Cathey was arrested by St. Ann police after she fled officers investigating a call about a suspicious vehicle at a library on St. Charles Rock Road. The caller said the silver Mustang had been there for more than five hours, St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez said.
Two officers saw the car speed away and pursued it on eastbound St. Charles Rock Road, Jimenez said. The officers deployed a tracking technology that latched on to the car and continued the pursuit northbound on Woodsen Road and then west on Natural Bridge.
The car came to a stop at a dead-end at Pear Tree Lane, where the driver, Cathey, was taken into custody, Jimenez said. Westbound Natural Bridge eventually turns into Pear Tree Lane.
She was released Saturday evening while police applied for a warrant, Jimenez said. He said his department hoped to see her charged with resisting arrest and reckless driving.
Griffin said Cathey had no violent criminal record. Police believe she came to St. Louis from Memphis over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Gaeng is listed on the website for The Gathering Clayton church as a kids’ nursery specialist. On their Facebook page on Wednesday, Pastor Yvi Martin and Pastor Matt Miofsky mourned Gaeng.
“We are devastated by this loss as so many of our children have been blessed by her gentle and affectionate care,” the post reads. “She cherished every moment spent teaching and playing with the kids in the 0-2 room and so many early journeys of faith were started because of her.”