A police officer signals from a house where a 2-year-old boy was beheaded… (Mel Evans / Associated Press )
The boy was 6 years old, just about to start the new school year; his sister had just turned 12.
And early on her birthday Sunday in Camden, N.J., police say, 31-year-old Osvaldo Rivera got high on PCP and marijuana, broke into their home and cut their throats, killing the boy and leaving his sister in critical condition.
It’s the latest shocking murder for a town that saw the grisly beheading of a 2-year-old boy two weeks ago. On Aug. 22, police say, 33-year-old Chevonne Thomas decapitated her toddler son, Zahree, put his head in a refrigerator and then killed herself with a knife.
The attacks Sunday came upstairs in the siblings’ home while their mother was recovering in the hospital from surgery and two other young girls were in the home, officials said. They were unharmed. Apparently there were no adults home at the time.
After the attack, the 12-year-old left the house and went door-to-door in her neighborhood looking for help.
“I went to the house [after calling 911] and saw her sitting there with her throat cut open and barely breathing,” Nakyta McCray, a neighbor, told 6 ABC Action News.
The station reported that the girl told police her attacker had a name like “Poppy,” and police later narrowed their search down to area resident Rivera, who went by the nickname “Popeye.”
Authorities said they found the suspect Sunday afternoon hiding between a mattress and a bedroom wall in his apartment with bloody shoes in the house that matched footprints at the scene of the attack, the Associated Press reported.
McCray told the AP that Rivera was well known in the neighborhood and seemed to be nonviolent. "People would never think he would do something like this," she said.
Cynthia Pulliam, director of the Roosevelt Manor Community Center, said she’d watched the siblings all summer and that the 6-year-old “was so much full of joy,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
A spokesman for the Camden County prosecutor’s office said Rivera’s arraignment will likely come Tuesday. He faces charges of murder and suspected murder.
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