Harlem boy, 10, suffered broken bones, was bruised ‘from head to toe’ before his death

Manhattan
10-year-old Harlem boy dead

Ryan Cato (inset) was arrested after his girlfriend’s 10-year-old son was died and was found with bruises throughout his body in a Harlem NYCHA complex.

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HARLEM, Manhattan — The 10-year-old Harlem boy allegedly killed by his mother’s boyfriend had multiple broken ribs along with a lacerated spleen, liver, kidney and renal vein.

Ryan Cato, 34, was arraigned late Monday night on murder charges in Ayden Wolfe’s Saturday death. He was ordered held without bail.

Wolfe was covered in bruises and abrasions “from head to toe,” when he was rushed to a hospital from his fourth floor home in the Saint Nicholas Houses on West 131st Street, according to Cato’s criminal complaint. 

His cause of death was battered child syndrome, an autopsy revealed. 

An investigation found that an unnamed individual in the building heard banging, thuds and yelling in the building on Friday, according to court documents. The yelling and banging lasted for around 40 minutes. A person could be heard moaning in pain. 

Someone called 911, but didn’t give police an apartment number. Two officers checked the building and listened at doors for any sounds of a domestic dispute, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. They heard nothing. The officers called the number of the person who’d called 911 twice, but they got a voicemail message. Eventually, they left the building and resumed their patrol.

“To be clear, the person allegedly responsible for Ayden Wolfe’s death is Ryan Cato, who has been charged with murder in the second degree,” Shea said. “Nonetheless, I have directed the Office of the Chief of Department to review the police response on Friday to determine if the officers’ actions were consistent with all department procedures and whether our current procedures need to be revised.”

On Saturday around 11:45 a.m., the same person heard more banging, thuds and shouting. 
Police arrived around 2:20 p.m. after a 911 call for an assault. Wolfe was unconscious and unresponsive on the floor. The 10-year-old boy  was pronounced dead by an emergency room pediatrician at 4:20 PM. 

At a Sunday rally, St. Nicholas Association President Tyrone Ball said what happened in the building was everyone’s business.

“These walls are thin enough where you can hear if a child is in trouble,” Ball said.

Outside a memorial for Wolfe, many wondered why residents didn’t come forward to help.

Cato had three prior arrests, including one in Brooklyn for allegedly assaulting the mother of his children on Dec. 29, 2020.

According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Cato’s children, ages 12 and 6, were present when he allegedly struck their mother several times in the face and choked her. 

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