Fashion designer who dressed Lady Gaga was victim of drugging, theft, homicide: officials

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NEW YORK (WPIX) – In a case with eerie similarities to those of multiple victims of Manhattan club druggings, the July 2022 death of fashion designer Kathryn Marie Gallagher – known professionally as Katie Gallagher – was ruled a drug-facilitated theft and homicide by the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Nexstar’s WPIX confirmed on Friday.

Gallagher, 35, was a popular designer who had dressed the likes of Lady Gaga and Laverne Cox. Her collections were featured at Fashion Weeks in New York and Paris, and she’d been profiled in Vogue, Elle and multiple other magazines.

The medical examiner wrote that Gallagher died from acute intoxication caused by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-flurofentanyl, and ethanol. A neighbor found Gallagher dead on her bed on July 24, two days after he’d helped her into her building on Eldridge Street in Lower Manhattan, according to police sources.

A police source told WPIX the initial NYPD report said, “Witness states (the woman) was seen Friday afternoon, when he helped her into the apartment.”

At some point, the neighbor noticed Gallagher’s apartment door was shut with the keys still in the lock.

“The witness went to make sure the woman was OK. He then entered the apartment and noticed a foul odor. He found the woman in the bedroom lying on her bed, face up,” the police source said.

The revelation about Gallagher’s cause of death came three weeks after the medical examiner announced that two men last seen leaving gay clubs in Hells Kitchen died from homicides that also began as drug-facilitated thefts. 

Social worker Julio Ramirez, 25, and political consultant John Umberger, 33, both had fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl and ethanol in their systems – similar to Gallagher. But toxicology reports revealed Ramirez and Umberger had additional drugs in their bodies, including lidocaine, which can immobilize a person.

Ramirez had $17,000 in savings cleaned out of his bank accounts after the thieves gained access to his smartphone. They left $6 behind in the account. Umberger had more than $20,000 stolen from his accounts.

In December, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at least six people were the victims of fatal overdoses while being robbed in 2022. Essig made the revelation while announcing the indictment of Kenwood Allen in the alleged murders of two men related to drug-facilitated thefts.  

WPIX also learned Allen has been linked to two other homicides in which the victims were allegedly drugged near Manhattan clubs before their bodies were dumped in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. One of the men died in late July, around the same time Gallagher died.  

Allen has 17 prior arrests, Essig said, “most of which include grand larcenies and burglaries.”

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