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Man sought in professor’s stabbing faced charges in earlier knifing

GARDNER — The man sought in last week’s stabbing death of a Quincy College professor in her Plymouth apartment moved to that town about five years ago after being charged with knifing a neighbor in Montague, court records show.

A judge endorsed Tyler Hagmaier’s request to move in with his grandparents in Plymouth as a condition of release on bail after a 2011 attack that left a 41-year-old man with a severe cut on his chest, according to Greenfield District Court files.

Investigators have been searching for Hagmaier, 24, since Friday, when his Toyota Prius was found on the French King Bridge, which spans the Connecticut River in Gill, a town of about 1,500 people in northwestern Massachusetts.


Police allege Hagmaier murdered his neighbor Vibeke Rasmussen, 76, who was found Friday after she did not report to her teaching job at Quincy College’s Plymouth campus.

Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz has said investigators believe Hagmaier jumped into the river, but there has been no sign of him. A State Police helicopter searched the river twice Tuesday, and over the weekend, officers scanned the water using sonar.

Strong currents have prevented divers from entering the river, though officials said they plan to reexamine that possibility Wednesday. Officers in Gill have scoured riverside cabins, visited the homes of Hagmaier’s former friends, and tracked three reported sightings of him, said Gill Police Chief David Hastings.

Hagmaier’s grandparents moved to Plymouth when he was 15 years old, according to court documents. He lived with them while attending his junior and senior years of high school there, records show. It is unclear whether he was still living with his grandparents at the time of the killing.

Within the last year, officers used a bean bag round to disarm Hagmaier after he threatened to harm himself, Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri has said. No charges were filed.


Court records show Hagmaier moved in with his grandparents while being prosecuted for allegedly attacking his neighbor in Montague on Nov. 1, 2011.

A man said a motion-activated floodlight was activated at 3:24 a.m., and he went outside to investigate, according to a report written by a Montague police detective, Lee R. Laster.

Outside, the man encountered a neighbor, later identified as Hagmaier, who stabbed him with a 10-inch serrated knife, Laster wrote.

Laster said he found Hagmaier lying face down with his hands behind his back.

“My life is over, I want to die,” Hagmaier said, according to the report. “I started breaking into [expletive] and then I stabbed this guy.”

After Hagmaier was arrested, a court-ordered mental health evaluation found that he suffered from substance abuse, depression, and suicidal impulses, court records show.

On March 13, 2012, Hagmaier admitted to sufficient facts on a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and was put on probation for two years, records show. The charge was later dismissed.

Prosecutors also requested a trespassing accusation be dropped and declined to pursue an attempted murder charge initially filed against Hagmaier, court records show.

Attorney Robert J. Bray, who successfully argued for Hagmaier to be released on bail, declined to comment Tuesday.

Hagmaier faced criminal charges again in 2013 after police say he lit a fire in a Heywood Hospital exam room in Gardner, court records show.

Two days after the fire, on May 30, 2013, Hagmaier allegedly fled from a state trooper who pulled him over in Westminster, court files show. Police pursued Hagmaier through seven towns until his car crashed, according to a police report filed in Gardner District Court.


After the crash, Hagmaier slit his neck and left wrist with a box cutter, the report said. He was taken to a local hospital and then flown to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, the report said.

In the fire case, Hagmaier admitted to sufficient facts to vandalizing property on March 14, 2014, and was put on probation for a year.

The same day, Hagmaier admitted to sufficient facts on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and operating under the influence of liquor for the case involving the police pursuit, court records show.

He was placed on probation, lost his license for 45 days, ordered to stay away from drugs and alcohol, undergo screenings, and continue with his medications and treatment.

Hagmaier’s probation ended Sept. 14, 2015, records say.

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.