Woman Who Comforted Kitty Genovese Dies at 92

'I only hope she knew it was me, that she wasn't alone'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2020 8:01 AM CDT
Woman Who Comforted Kitty Genovese Dies at 92
This undated photo shows Kitty Genovese, who was stalked and killed in 1964 in the Queens neighborhood of New York.   (AP Photo/New York Daily News, File)

Kitty Genovese was raped and murdered in the Queens, New York, neighborhood of Kew Gardens in the early hours of March 13, 1964—but contrary to reports at the time, her cries for help were not completely ignored and she did not die alone. After neighbor and friend Sophie Farrar was told in a 3am phone call that Genovese needed help, she raced from her apartment to her, arriving not long after the attacker had left the scene. Farrar, who died on Friday at age 92, found Genovese in a pool of blood, cradled her in her arms, and promised her that help was on the way, the New York Times reports. The 28-year-old bar manager, who had been stabbed repeatedly, died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

"I only hope she knew it was me, that she wasn't alone," Farrar said in The Witness, a 2016 film that followed brother Bill Genovese's investigation of the story of his sister's death. In a story that horrified America at the time and made the murder what the film's director, Jim Solomon, calls a "parable of urban apathy," the New York Times reported that "38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman." Farrar's actions were not mentioned. "It’s clear she went to great efforts to save and comfort Kitty, giving the lie to the idea that no one helped and no one cared,” says Jim Rasenberger, who reexamined the case in the Times 40 years later. “There ought to be a statue to her in Kew Gardens.” (Genovese's killer died in prison in 2016 after parole was denied 18 times.)

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