2 boys, 11 months and 3 years old, fatally stabbed in New York family shelter; mother in custody




  • In US
  • 2022-11-27 19:27:00Z
  • By NY Daily News

NEW YORK - Two boys, one 11 months old and the other 3 years old, were fatally stabbed in a Bronx family shelter - and the youngsters' mother is in custody, police said Sunday.

Police found the children in the family's apartment on Echo Place near the Grand Concourse in Mount Hope after the father of one of the boys made a desperate attempt to revive them.

Both boys suffered multiple stab wounds to the neck and torso, said police.

"Despite the officers' best efforts, both children succumbed to their injuries," said New York Police Department Deputy Chief Louis De Ceglie.

Police sources said the boys' 22-year-old mother was in custody but had not been charged as of Sunday morning.

Police learned of trouble at the shelter at 7:20 p.m. Saturday when officers from the 46th Precinct arrived and found the children's mother naked in a third-floor apartment acting irrationally but not violently, De Ceglie told reporters.

They were summoned to the apartment by a 911 call and building staff directed them to the third-floor unit, saying she needed mental health help.

Inside the kitchen oven, the woman was trying to burn something - "stones," possibly charcoal, said a police source. Authorities believed what the mother had in the oven generated carbon monoxide in the home, the police source said.

"The officers took the female into custody without incident," De Ceglie said. At about 7:50 p.m., an ambulance took the woman to St. Barnabas Hospital, he said.

The officers stayed for about 30 minutes, apparently not realizing the two young boys were mortally wounded in a bathroom. A family friend told the officers that the woman's two children were in the care of their father, said De Ceglie.

The officers found an overflowing bathtub filled with clothes and covered with a bed sheet but didn't look further before they left, sources said.

The father arrived about 10 minutes later and found the boys hidden in the bathtub, lifeless under the bed sheet, sources said.

"The father ran out (of the) apartment. He was screaming 'Help me, help me, help me!'" said neighbor Shannon Holyfield, who lives two doors down. "Another neighbor from upstairs came down. He walked inside of the apartment. He started screaming and crying."

The father told detectives that he had argued with the mother a day earlier and left the apartment to sleep in his car overnight, sources said. He happened to be in the neighborhood when police first showed up at the apartment and a friend told him the mother had just been taken away by an ambulance so he returned to check on the children.

"He grabbed the two little boys and he was just running with them in his arms. And they were naked," Holyfield said. "And there was blood around the boys on their necks, their backs, their stomachs. They were already lifeless."

"He was crying," she added. "He was screaming."

The father and building staff made several more calls to 911 after the tragic find, sources said.

"Patrol officers returned to the apartment, where they found an 11-month-old baby boy and a 3-year-old male unresponsive with stab wounds - multiple stab wounds," De Ceglie said.

The officers arrived to find one child on a bed, the other on the floor, with the father performing CPR on him, sources said.

The officers and the father tried to revive the children. An ambulance rushed the children to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia, with police blocking off traffic, but the boys could not be saved.

"The police officers who responded - I think they did a great job," De Ceglie said. "It's something that they are going to have to live with and think about, probably for the rest of their lives."

Though police had responded to a prior domestic incident involving the mother, the NYPD his no record of prior mental health issues, sources said.

Holyfield, who lives in the building with her teenage daughter, said the family just moved in this past summer.

"I don't know them personally. The father always speaks. The mother, she rarely speaks. The two boys, always coming in and out of the building," she said.

"They argue all the time," she said of the mother and father. "I don't know what they argue about but we hearing yelling and cursing."

It wasn't until she heard the cries of "Help me!" that she knew something was wrong, she said.

"(My daughter) saw the children as well. She was scared, she was crying. It was very sad. You see stuff like that on the news and in movies. So to see it firsthand up close in your face is different," she said. "(My daughter) couldn't sleep last night. I couldn't sleep last night. I just can't sleep because I just keep seeing the images of those little boys in my head."

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(Thomas Tracy contributed to this report.)

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