Newborn Twins Are Found Dead in an Apartment in Queens

The mother of the infants, a boy and a girl, was in custody but had not yet been charged in the deaths, officials said.,


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Twin infants, a boy and a girl, were found dead in an apartment in Queens on Thursday, and their mother was in custody, officials said.

The babies, who were six weeks old, were dead when police officers answering a 911 call arrived at the apartment, on the fifth floor of a building in the Woodside Houses, a public housing complex in the Woodside neighborhood, shortly after 3 p.m., officials said.

One of the infants was found in a crib and was “unresponsive with trauma to the body,” said David P. Barrere, the Police Department’s chief of housing. The other was found wrapped in a blanket under the kitchen sink, Chief Barrere said.

Investigators found a knife in the apartment and determined that “one of the children may have had stab wounds,” said Sgt. Carlos Nieves of the Police Department’s public information office.

The 911 call came from a relative who was concerned about the children’s safety and was outside the apartment when police officers and Fire Department personnel arrived and knocked on the door, Chief Barrere said. The children’s mother let them in, he said.

After finding the child in the crib, officers asked the mother about the second child, Chief Barrere said. “She pointed towards the sink,” he said.

The mother, 23, was in custody late Thursday but had not been criminally charged pending a report from the office of New York City’s chief medical examiner, Sergeant Nieves said.

“I don’t know what her state of mind is,” he said of the woman, adding that she had “made statements” and “spontaneous utterances” when the police arrived.

Except for a summons, the woman did not appear to have a criminal record, Chief Barrere said.

A mother and daughter who said they lived next door to the apartment where the infants were found described occasionally hearing adults arguing in the unit but said there was no evidence that children were living there.

The next-door neighbors, who declined to give their names, said the babies’ mother had moved in last month and was related to the longtime previous tenants, a woman who died in February after a battle with cancer and her husband, who died several months before that.

“I’m hearing people yelling and screaming,” said one of the women. “I never heard children. If there were children in there, she must have snuck them in.”

The twins were the latest infants to die under suspicious circumstances in New York City over the past six months.

In January, Antonio Diaz, a 2-month-old boy who had been living with his mother at a Manhattan hotel that was functioning as a homeless shelter, died after she banged his head against a portable crib several times, officials said.

The woman, Alyssa Owens, 25, initially told investigators that she had put Antonio in the crib and had found that he was not breathing when she checked on him later, officials said. After an autopsy determined that the boy’s skull had about a half-dozen fractures, Ms. Owens admitted that she had hit his head against the crib three times “out of frustration,” officials said.

Ms. Owens, who officials said had moved between several shelters in the city over the past few years, was initially charged with assault, though prosecutors said at the time that they expected to upgrade the charges after receiving a final autopsy report. Ms. Owens pleaded not guilty to assault charges in February, according to court records.

In November, a building superintendent found twin newborn boys who had been beaten to death behind a high-rise apartment tower in the Bronx. The chief medical examiner ruled the deaths homicides this month. No one has been arrested in the killings.

Ashley Southall contributed reporting.

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