Police are searching for a suspect after a woman and her children were stabbed at a hotel on Staten Island, killing the mother and two baby girls — and leaving another child in critical condition.
According to authorities, the stabbing was reported at the Ramada Inn in Willowbrook at 535 N. Gannon Ave., just after 10:00 a.m. Four people, 28-year-old Rebecca Cutler and her three daughters, were stabbed by a suspect believed to be her boyfriend.
The four victims were transported to a nearby hospital where the mother and her one-year-old, Ziana Cutler, were pronounced dead. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the youngest victim, five-month-old Maiyah Sykes, had succumbed to her injuries by Wednesday afternoon while a 2-year-old girl was out of surgery and in critical but stable conditon.
According to the New York Daily News, the surviving girl's name is Miracle.
"This is an atrocious crime and I think every parent would share my view that our hearts break when we see an innocent child attacked," de Blasio said.
The victims were homeless and staying at the motel since Dec. 6, along with 28 other families — who will be relocated immediately following the stabbing, de Blasio said. The hotel will also no longer be used to house homeless families, he said.
Authorities said the suspect — identified as Michael Sykes who lives at the Howard Houses in Brooklyn— was the father of the youngest daughter.
According to surveillance video, the three children and their mother were with Sykes at a nearby deli on Victory Boulevard at about 7:30 a.m. on Monday, police said. At about 8 a.m. the five got back to the motel, and Sykes did not immediately go into their motel room but instead stayed in the hallway. He then went into the room at about 8:50 and left four minutes later.
Sykes then got on a bus and went to the Staten Island Ferry, according to police. At about 10:30 a.m. he called a family member, admitted to the crime and said he could take his own life.
Police recovered a bloody large kitchen knife, believed to be the murder weapon, at the scene.
The suspect has no criminal or psychological history, police said. He had one prior argument with the children's mother on Tuesday at about 4 p.m. when he took her phone.
Police have released photos of Sykes, who is still at large.
"We want to get him, we want to get him very, very quickly and get him off the streets as fast as we can," said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
To increase security at all 41 hotels being used citywide to house homeless families, de Blasio said the city will reach out to each hotel and indicate that Department of Homeless Services-contracted security will be provided at no additional cost. All the hotels would have to do is agree for the security to come onto their property for 24-hour surveillance.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.