Entries in Camden (3)


New Jersey Man on PCP Charged in Throat Slitting Attacks on Children

ABC News(CAMDEN, N.J.) -- A New Jersey man who smoked a combination of pot and PCP has been arrested and charged with slitting the throats of a 6-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister who is in critical condition, according to authorities.

The wounded girl was able to give police a tip that led them to her alleged attacker.

It is the second time in recent weeks that the hallucinatory drug combo, known as "wet," has been implicated in the grisly murder of a child in the crime ridden city of Camden, N.J.

At around on Sunday, a bloody 12-year-old girl fled her home after being attacked. She ran door-to-door banging on neighbors' doors until Nakyta McCray answered the door and called 911.

"I saw her standing there with her throat cut open and barely breathing," McCray tearfully told ABC News' Philadelphia affiliate WPVI.

"The older sister kept crying that the other two little kids were in the house," McCray said. "So I went down there to try to get the two little kids, but I saw a whole bunch of blood, called for an officer and he walked in the house and said there was another victim."

The wounded girl's 6-year-old brother was discovered dead inside. His throat had also been slit, the prosecutor's office said. The little boy was identified as Dominick Andujar. The girl has not been identified and is in critical condition at Cooper Hospital, prosecutors said.

WPVI reported that Sunday was the girl's 12th birthday.

Two other siblings were in the house, including a 14-year-old, but they were not injured. The children's mother was in the hospital recovering from a recent surgery, according to WPVI.

Osvaldo Rivera, 31, was charged with murder and attempted murder Monday. He was arrested on Sunday when police found him hiding between a mattress and a bedroom wall at an apartment about five miles from the girl's house.

"Police also found blood-stained sneakers that matched bloody footprints in the home on Ware Street," where the girl lived, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

The 12-year-old girl identified her attacker to authorities as "what sounded like 'Poppy,'" officials said.

Rivera lived in the area and went by the nickname, "Popeye," authorities said.

"Several citizens came forward and showed the courage to provide information, which helped lead to the initial apprehension," Camden County Prosecutor's Office Lt. Frank Falco said in a statement.

During an interview with investigators, Rivera "stated that he has smoked 'wet,' a combination of marijuana and PCP, prior to the killing," prosecutors said.

"In recent years there have been several other murders in which wet appeared to have played a part," prosecutors said in a statement. "This drug has a particularly catastrophic effect on people, making them incoherent, hallucinatory and, in some cases, violent."

Prosecutors said that the attack on Dominick and his sister is the second time there appears to be a connection between the drug and the killing of a child in the city of Camden.

Authorities believe Chevonne Thomas was smoking wet before beheading her 2-year-old son Zahree on Aug. 22 in Camden.

Thomas had a history of substance abuse and mental health disorders, according to the Department of Children and Families.

The prosecutor's office and the Camden Police Department said they are "concerned" with the use of the drug in the city and said they will be "taking steps to curb the market for this exceedingly dangerous and destructive drug."

Rivera is expected to make his first court appearance at an arraignment on Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Etan Patz Suspect Reportedly Kept Boy's Body in Store Freezer 

(Courtesy Inside Edition)(NEW YORK) -- Pedro Hernandez, the former store clerk charged in the 1979 death of 6-year-old Etan Patz after he confessed to the alleged murder, reportedly kept the boy's body in a walk-in refrigerator in the store's basement before discarding it.

Hernandez was arrested Thursday after telling authorities that he'd lured the child to his death with the promise of soda.

He reportedly said that he'd strangled Etan and then stuffed the boy's body into a plastic garbage bag, carried it to another location and then dumped it in the trash.

Citing his confession to police, the New York Post reported Monday that Hernandez said he'd kept the boy's body in the refrigerator until he could dispose of the corpse.

Law enforcement sources said the police department is attempting to confirm the details provided by Hernandez and whether to search for remains, the Post said.

Also, The New York Times reported this weekend that Hernandez had confessed during a prayer meeting in the early 1980s to killing a boy.

The former leader of the prayer group, which was held in a Roman Catholic church in Camden, N.J., told the Times that Hernandez said in front of the meeting's attendees that he had strangled a boy, the paper reported Sunday.

"He confessed to the group," said Tomas Rivera, who often led the meetings at St. Anthony of Padua and was present during the admission. Rivera told the Times he did not tell the police at the time "because he did not confess to me."

Rivera, who said he'd been questioned by New York police last week, said Hernandez had also said he left the body in a trash bin.

The prayer-circle confession was confirmed to the Times by Hernandez's sister, Norma Hernandez, who said that although she'd never talked to Pedro Hernandez about the case, his comments to the prayer group were known to the family. She did not say whether her brother had revealed the identity of the boy.

In a Facebook post on its page, St. Anthony of Padua responded to The Times story:

"At the time the confession in the prayer group would have taken place, the friars had not yet even arrived in Camden. But some members of the prayer group back then are still active in the parish. Please keep the Patz family and the Hernandez family in your prayers," the message said.

Hernandez, now 51, was a clerk at a corner store in the New York City neighborhood where Etan disappeared 33 years ago. Etan had been allowed for the first time to walk to the school bus stop alone May 25, 1979.

Hernandez had worked at the store for nearly a month. He left after Etan's disappearance, according to officials. Etan's body has not been found.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Hernandez had told relatives and friends as early as 1981 that he'd "done a bad thing and killed a child in New York."

Hernandez was formally charged with second-degree murder. He remains at a New York City hospital because authorities fear he might attempt to kill himself. His lawyer said no plea had been entered pending a psychiatric evaluation.

The search for Etan has been one of the largest, longest-lasting and most heart wrenching hunts for a missing child in the country's recent history. His photo was among the first of a missing child to appear on a milk carton.

New York City police hailed Hernandez's arrest, saying that it closed a case that had haunted the city for three decades.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Camden Prepares for Deep Police, Fire Cuts

Image Courtesy - Camden Police Dept.(CAMDEN, N.J.) -- About half the police force and a third of the firefighters in Camden, New Jersey are losing their jobs. It's one of the nation's most crime-ridden cities, but because of a huge budget deficit and cuts in state aid, the city government has started to make deep job cuts, laying off up to a quarter of the city government's payroll. 

"We don't know what'll happen. But we do know that our people are fearful of what will happen because experience says, it won't be good", according to Father Martin Gutwein of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Assante Wilson is a seven-year veteran with the Camden Fire Department and says "Being a fireman was something I wanted to do since I was a little kid, so this is part of, like I said, part of your dream being taken away from you."

Police union president John Williamson says there've been no direct talks that could prevent the layoffs in his department -- and he doesn't like it. "It's a sickening feeling in the, in the pit of my stomach."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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