New York police officials said authorities have arrested in connection with a series of murders of elderly women in Brooklyn, including a 78-year-old woman who was found strangled at her home last week.
New York Police officials said the suspect, identified as 66-year-old Kevin Gavin, was living in the same Brownsville public housing block as his three alleged victims, whom he may have befriended through running errands for them.
The latest death in this pattern came when Juanita Caballero’s son came to spend the weekend with her and found her dead with a phone cord around her neck. Police say that during this investigation, investigators linked Capillero’s death to two other murders dating back years.
Her son, Stephen Caballero, said, “I am sad, my mother was brutally murdered, and killed brutally,” adding that NYCHA had “failed our families.”
The first case – the death of 82-year-old Myrtle McKinney, who was found by a health aide on November 9, 2015 – was initially thought to be natural causes. The funeral home workers later discovered a stab in the neck. There were a few leads.
Nearly four years later, her grandson found 83-year-old Jaculia James, another woman who lives in the Powell Street Building, dead on April 30, 2019. He had seen her alive at 7 pm. Earlier that evening. Four hours later, he found her dead. She was hit in the face and neck.
At the time, James’ friends at the building said they believed police would have known responsible for her murder if their building had cameras, and elected officials had pressed NYCHA to install them.
Her son, Edward James, vowed not to stop fighting until his mother was fair. Police say they are now working to make sure they have it. Her grandson, Lamar Crafton, said he hoped Gavin would be tried so that his family and the families of other victims could be “shut down.”
Police officials said on Thursday that the building currently has four cameras. Investigators said that another plan was supposed to be added, but this plan was foiled due to budget cuts related to the epidemic.
“The New York Police Department was negligent and neglected and did not refer to these crimes and allocate the resources necessary to solve these crimes in a timely manner,” said New York City Councilor Inez Barron, representing the district where the killings occurred.
Police say they are looking into other cases with possible links to Gavin, but have not made additional contacts other than the three women at this point. They said Gavin was on their radar, but that he recently linked it to all three of the murders – which they think may have been financially motivated, with something wrong with each case. Investigators say he fought with the women after running errands for them.
They are now taking Gavin’s case to a grand jury – and they offered their sincere condolences to the families and communities of the victims.
Stephen Caballero said, “My mom loved all of these people, the best you can do is not let my mother die in vain. Don’t let my mother die in vain. Don’t let McKinley’s mother die in vain.” “Protect their friends who still live here. They just want to be safe and secure.”