A New York City woman was arrested late Friday morning in connection with the death of her nearly 100-year-old aunt.
“I killed her,” the victim’s half-century-old niece reportedly told arresting police officers–repeating the phrase without feeling.
Janice Cruz, 50, stands accused of murder and strangulation over the death of Antonia Cardona, 97, according to NYPD sources cited by the New York Daily News.
According to the New York Post, Cruz was led away in handcuffs at the Baruch Houses apartment complex in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan when she nonchalantly confessed to the crime before three police officers who responded to the scene.
The Lower East Side is one of the safer neighborhoods in New York City. According to the Daily News, the NYPD’s Seventh Precinct had only logged two murders, before Cardona’s death, since 2016.
“She was handcuffed, and she kept telling the cops, ‘I killed her,”” a neighbor identified by the outlet only as Maria, said.
“And they told her, ‘Okay, you did, but just keep paying attention to what we’re telling you. Walk this way,'” the neighbor recalled before adding: “[She] wasn’t screaming. She just kept saying, all natural, like nothing, ‘I killed her. I killed her.’””
That account clashed somewhat with what other neighbors reportedly told the Daily News–which described Cruz’s alleged public confessions as “shouts” and “howl[s].”
Despite the timber of those alleged statements, Cruz was charged in Cardona’s death as of Sunday after being taken to Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the U.S., for a psychiatric evaluation.
“I don’t understand it, because she would bring her food every day,” Culma Mercado, 76, a friend of the deceased who knew the family told the Daily News. “Every day she took care of her.”
Confused or not as to the why, the longtime friend said she was sure the niece was to blame for the victim’s untimely passage.
“There’s no doubt that was the one that did it, she was crazy,” Mercado alleged. “We’re still thinking ‘What made her do this?’… Something must have made her snap.”
The NYPD has so far, not released a public motive for the alleged murder. The victim’s grandson, however, had some thoughts about the tragedy.
Chris Cardona said his grandmother often helped various family members with their own financial hardships.
“I really hope the cops investigate this well,” he told the outlet. “I don’t know 100%, but it had to be about money.”
Cardona moved to New York City in her 20s and reportedly loved to go for walks until recently. She was also a regular churchgoer.
“For her age, she was in really good health,” the grandson, who lives in Oklahoma, said. “She wasn’t scared of anything. But these last couple of years, her health has went down.”
The NYPD were reportedly alerted to Cardona’s death after Cruz allegedly confessed first to her 19-year-old son, according to the Post. Citing departmental sources, the outlet says the defendant has a history of mental health issues–but did not specify which kinds.
The victim’s body was found by her home health aide, according to the Daily News. Rosa Perez went with Cardona to Mass every Sunday at Our Lady of Sorrows.
“If I found her in a normal death, a regular death, I wouldn’t be the way I am,” Perez said through tears in Spanish. “She was a love.”
[image via screengrab/YouTube]
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