Things That Matter

Brooklyn Abuela Murdered By Serial Killer Who Targeted Elderly People Who Lived in His Housing Project

Photo via GoFundme

The families of three Brooklyn elderly women who were slain by their neighbor are struggling to come to grips with what happened.

In early January, 78-year old Juanita Caballero was found dead in her public housing unit, strangled to death with the cord of a telephone.

To the residents of the Carter G. Woodson senior housing project, Caballero’s death didn’t seem like a coincidence. It was the third suspicious death that had occured in the complex since 2015.

In 2015, an 82-year-old woman named Myrtle McKinney was found dead in her apartment. At first, authorities assumed that she died of natural causes. It was only when her autopsy report turned up a stab wound in her neck that they suspected foul play.

83-year-old Jacolia James body was found in her apartment in 2019 by her grandson. It was immediately evident that James did not die of natural causes. Authorities revealed that she had “injuries to her face and neck which were highly suspicious”. It was later determined that the elderly woman was strangled and stomped to death.

Through a combination of forensic evidence and witness accounts, police identified 66-year-old Kevin Gavin as the person responsible for the three murders.

Gavin was a fellow resident of the Carter G. Woodson housing project. He was known around the complex as someone who you could depend on to do you a favor.

“I am confident the defendant took advantage of his relationship with these women, was allowed into their homes, and did unspeakable acts of violence against them,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez during a press conference.

In other words, Kevin Gavin e gained the trust of these elderly women by acting the part of the friendly neighbor–helping them out around their homes and running errands for them. But in the end, he murdered them in cold blood.

At the moment, police believe that disputes over money was the motive for his killings.

Whatever the motive, the families of these three women are distraught.

“All who knew my mother would know she didn’t deserve to have her life ended in such a horrific way,” said Juanita Caballero’s son, Peter, on a GoFundMe page he created to help with the funeral costs.

Peter Caballero also expressed frustration at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for not taking action to prevent further deaths sooner.

After the death of Jacolia James in 2019, the NYCHA installed four security cameras in the building’s lobby last year. But plans for an extra 65 security cameras throughout the building were nixed due to budget constraints.

According to the Cabellero’s family attorney, Gavin’s criminal record should have also prevented him from being a resident of the community in the first place.

“You’re not allowed to live in an NYCHA building with a criminal record,” said the Caballero’s lawyer to the New York Post. “He should never have been in the building, irrespective of the clear lack of security.”

“NYCHA failed our families. They failed the McKinney family. They failed the James family. They failed my mother. They had time to do something,” said Juanita’s other son, Steven Caballero to NY1. “I don’t know what it’s going to take for them to put these cameras in the building.”

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Chingona 105-Year-Old Abuela Says She Survived Spanish Flu, 3 Husbands, And COVID-19 By Eating Gin-Soaked Raisins

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Chingona 105-Year-Old Abuela Says She Survived Spanish Flu, 3 Husbands, And COVID-19 By Eating Gin-Soaked Raisins

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For Lucia DeClerck, nine gin-soaked raisins have kept doctors and pandemics away. The grandmother of 11 great-great-grandchildren celebrated her 105th birthday on January 25 in Mystic Meadows Rehab and Nursing Center in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

That same day she was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Staff members at her nursing center say DeClerck was pretty much asymptomatic and was in the facility’s COVID-19 unit for 14 days.

Now a COVID-19 survivor, DeClerck is the oldest person at her nursing home, according to The New York Times, and has survived two pandemics. DeClerck was born in 1916 in Hawaii to parents who came from Guatemala and Spain. She was two years old and living in Hawaii when the Spanish flu broke out. Since that time, she has survived two world wars, survived three husbands, and one out of her three sons. 

“She’s just been open with everything in life and I think that has really helped her because she hasn’t hesitated to do whatever she’s wanted to do,” DeClerck’s son, Henry Laws III, told CBS Philly in an interview.

Speaking about her secret to longevity, DeClerck says it takes equal parts belief and diet.

“Pray, pray, pray. And don’t eat junk food,” she told the New York Times before going on to explain that the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she eats every morning might have helped in her survival.

According to DeClerck she has eaten the special recipe every morning for most of her life.

“Fill a jar,” she explained giving NYT her recipe. “Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.” The New York Times describes her diet as being a part of a ritual that her children and grandchildren chalk up to being just one in the entirety of “endearing lifelong habits, like drinking aloe juice straight from the container and brushing her teeth with baking soda. (That worked, too: She did not have a cavity until she was 99, relatives said.)”

“She is just the epitome of perseverance,” DeClerck’s 53-year-old granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil explained. “Her mind is so sharp. She will remember things when I was a kid that I don’t even remember.”

Ms. DeClerck, tested positive for the virus on her 105th birthday, just one day after she had gotten her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“At first, she said she was scared. She did not like being isolated, and she missed the daily chatter from the parade of caregivers at Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing, a 120-bed facility in Little Egg Harbor,” reports the New York Times. “Within two weeks she was back in her room, holding her rosary beads and wearing her trademark sunglasses and knit hat.”

According to O’Neil, DeClerck has a new nickname amongst her two surviving sons, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren: “The 105-year-old badass who kicked Covid.”

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Nicole Martinez Was Kidnapped and Found Safe in Virginia

Things That Matter

Nicole Martinez Was Kidnapped and Found Safe in Virginia

Photo via PPinesPD/Twitter

The public has been informed of a happy ending to a story that could have ended tragically. Authorities have revealed that the Florida teen Nicole Martinez who was abducted by gunpoint on Sunday morning has been found safely in Virginia.

According to police, 18-year-old Nicole Martinez was found unharmed with her kidnapper, 37-year-old Jaddier Sanchez.

Florida authorities revealed that Sanchez abducted Martinez and her parents by gunpoint from their home in Pembroke Pines shortly after midnight on Sunday. He forced Martinez and her parents into their Dodge Ram pickup truck and drove the family around, forcing them to withdraw cash at various ATM machines.

He drove the car to Palm Beach, at which point he told the parents to “get out”. He then drove off with Nicole still in the car, against her will. Martinez’s parents were found wandering at the side of the road by authorities around 5:30 am on Sunday.

The Virginia authorities were able to locate Sanchez around 1 a.m. Monday morning, driving on the Interstate 95 near Springfield in the stolen vehicle.

According to police reports, he was arrested “without incident”. A preliminary search of the car turned up crack cocaine as well as a loaded firearm.

Per the police, Martinez was not gravely harmed, but she was nonetheless taken to a Virginia hospital for minor injuries. Authorities are not giving any other update on her physical condition.

In Virgina, Sanchez faced a judge for three weapons charges, a drug charge and a traffic offense. In Florida, he faces a myriad of other legal troubles. Florida police have yet to formally charge Sanchez, but the Florida man is facing charges of armed robbery, three counts of kidnapping, and grand theft of a vehicle.

According to Martinez’s parents, the family was acquainted with the kidnapper through their daughter.

Police have since revealed that 37-year-old Sanchez was in a “romantic relationship” with the 18-year-old. No further details have been given.

Since his arrest, reports have come out the at Sanchez has spent most of his adult life in and out of prison.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, since he was 18-years-old, Sanchez has been charged with shoplifting, burglary, larceny, aggravated stalking, trespassing, aggravated battery, armed robbery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, and domestic violence with intent to kill.

Sanchez had been behind bars since 2006, but was released in late 2020. It didn’t take much time for him to get in trouble with the law again, however.

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