Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homeless Woman Found Murdered in Park

Residents Shocked at Discovery near 106th Precinct

By Conor Greene

An unidentified homeless woman who was a fixture in the playground adjacent to the 106th Precinct was found dead Monday morning on a park bench, apparently bludgeoned to death.

A homeless man made the gruesome discovery at about 9:30 a.m. inside Ozone Park’s Officer Nicholas DeMutiss Playground on Liberty Avenue at 102nd Street. Police and a team from the city’s Medical Examiner’s Office spent several hours going through the crime scene as neighbors looked on. The woman’s belongings, including a shopping cart, were strewn around the bench where the body was found.

The violent murder shocked and horrified residents, some of whom would bring the woman food and clothes from time to time. That the incident occurred next door to the precinct headquarters, inside a park fre- quented by neighborhood children, only added to their concerns.

Neighbor Charlotte Chavis said that she had brought the woman food and clothes several times since noticing her sleeping there this past winter. “She was a very nice old lady,” said Chavis, adding that the park is generally quiet, in part due to its proximity to the stationhouse.

Another resident echoed the feeling that the park is considered safe for children to play in. She said she saw the woman there last week, and said the victim kept to herself. “Somebody had to drop that there last night,” she said of the body. “This park is loaded with children during the day. This is insane. The precinct is right there – why wouldn’t you feel safe. This is a total shock.”

Paul Ramroop said he believed the woman was in her 60’s and was often seen in a nearby Laundromat. “People gave her food... she felt comfortable in the park,” he recalled.

Neighbor Simoa Santiago said it is unusual to hear about violence in the popular neighborhood playground. “It’s scary. We live a few houses down, and there are a lot of children in this area,” she said. “Nothing like this has happened before. She minded her own business and didn’t bother anybody.”

As of press time Wednesday, police hadn’t released any additional details on the incident

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