Bronx babies’ died from blunt force trauma, NYPD says

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CLAREMONT, the Bronx — Two baby boys found dead in the Bronx last fall were the victims of homicide, police said Thursday, months after the newborns’ bodies were found.

The baby boys, who were identical twins, were found behind a building on College Avenue, near and East 172nd Street in the Claremont section of the borough on Nov. 9, 2020, police said.

Police did not say how old the babies were, instead describing them as “newborns” or “infants” that were considered “full term.” Previous reporting from PIX11 suggests the babies were less than a month old, perhaps even just days old.

Lt. William O’Toole, the commanding officer of the Bronx homicide squad, along with Detective Brianna Constantino and Officer Shamika Thomas, gave an update Thursday. O’Toole said the babies were found by the building’s superintendent within 12 hours of their deaths.

The NYPD conducted an exhaustive investigation into the case, with officers and detectives canvassing the area, nearby hospitals and other locations, including discussions with “very cooperative” residents of the building, officials said.

Now, the NYPD is pleading for the public’s help.

“There’s not much that goes on in this city that someone doesn’t know,” O’Toole said.

The city has offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Constantino and O’Toole said the investigation is currently focused on DNA, fingerprints and other scientific areas, though public information is key to the next stages.

PIX11 previously reported that the case was baffling to officers; O’Toole said Thursday surveillance footage was unhelpful to the case and did not show anyone leave the bodies in the area.

O’Toole said previous indications that the babies had umbilical cords wrapped around their bodies or necks has been ruled out. Early reporting also indicated that one of the children may have been stabbed and another may have been thrown from the roof. O’Toole said both babies, instead, died from blunt force trauma and not from a stabbing or fall.

At least one of the babies was found inside of a black garbage bag, which also had tissues and a shower loofa, O’Toole said.

On Nov. 9, the superintendent flagged down someone helping him clean in the rear of the building when he discovered the body of the first child; it was after the helper and super began calling 911 that the super discovered the second child’s body.

O’Toole said the mother of the babies, while unidentified, is naturally a person of interest, and regardless, police want to speak with her and provide her the help she needs if in fact she is in a “desperate situation,” O’Toole said, including the possibility of a dangerous domestic situation or relationship.

Police also visited an area homeless shelter based on a tip. There were several pregnant women at the shelter at the time the babies were discovered, but when they were contacted by police, they had yet to give birth. Police do not believe there is any connection between the deaths of the babies and the shelter.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Those providing tips may remain anonymous, Constantino stressed Thursday.

Additional reporting from PIX11’s Lauren Cook, Yan Kaner, Greg Mocker and Mary Murphy.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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