Authorities in New York released shocking details Friday about the death of Katie Gallagher, saying the esteemed fashion designer—who famously dressed Lady Gaga before mysteriously turning up dead in her Manhattan apartment last July—was killed by a drug cocktail during a suspected break-in.
Gallagher’s cause of death had been a mystery from the jump. Her body was found by a concerned neighbor who reportedly spotted her front door ajar, with her keys still in the lock, on a Friday evening. When the neighbor walked in her flat, he reportedly found Gallagher’s lifeless body in bed. She showed no obvious signs of trauma, deepening the mystery.
The perplexing case took a disturbing turn on Friday, however, when a medical examiner determined Gallagher died from “acute intoxication” induced by a drug cocktail that included fentanyl, ethanol and p-fluorofentanyl, NBC New York reported.
The jarring finding prompted the NYPD to classify Gallagher’s death as a homicide, with the medical examiner tying it to a “drug-facilitated theft.”
No details have been released about what—if anything—was stolen from Gallagher’s apartment in Chinatown, and cops are yet to identify a potential suspect or suspects.
Slayings with similar circumstances have rocked Manhattan recently. The city medical examiner determined earlier this month that two men who were robbed last year also died from a cocktail of drugs that included fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl and ethanol.
Those men—25-year-old social worker Julio Ramirez and 33-year-old political consultant John Umberger—had their checking and savings accounts drained by thieves the night of their death with more than $37,000 taken, PIX 11 reported.
Reached by phone Friday, a family member for Gallagher declined an interview request from The Daily Beast.
Gallagher grew up in rural Pennsylvania before she was admitted into the Rhode Island School of Design. While there, her talents caught the attention of Lady Gaga’s stylist Nicola Formichetti, who quickly hired her to design some of the pop star’s most iconic ‘fits even before she’d graduated, Vogue reported.
“Fiercely independent and sure of her vision, Gallagher followed her own path in life and in fashion,” a Vogue tribute said. “She was a hands-on artisan who never relied on surface effects for impact; her interest was in the ‘bones’ of a garment.”
Designing while being a model herself, Gallagher also made pieces worn by Kourtney Kardashian, Rita Ora and others, the Daily Mail reported.
In an online obituary, Gallagher’s sisters said she was a “talented and innovative pattern maker and seamstress,” who was “unique, beautiful, smart, unabashed, and always wanting.” They added that Gallagher was a lover of Halloween—showcasing that love in her many tattoos—and recently discovered a passion for floristry.
Gallagher’s Instagram page remains filled with flowers, her art and edgy selfies. Her last Instagram post, uploaded a day before her death, was a sketch of bats.
“She was hardworking and talented, with so many ideas and plans for future projects,” her obituary read. “We are so proud of who she was and all she achieved in her brief but full and beautiful life. She was Katie, our daughter, sister, aunt, and friend.”