Michael Sykes captured in connection with Ramada Inn stabbings

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Police on Saturday arrested Michael Sykes, who is suspected of fatally stabbing his girlfriend and two of her children Wednesday in the Ramada Inn in Willowbrook. Sykes, 23, of Brooklyn, was apprehended on 31st Avenue in Queens at around 4 p.m., police said. As of Saturday evening, Sykes was being questioned by police at the 121st Precinct stationhouse in Graniteville, according to a law enforcement source.

Charges were pending.

“Thanks goes to the hard-working officers of the NYPD for bringing Mr. Sykes into custody,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “The judicial process can now begin to run its course. I hope the family members of the young mother and her small children can find some amount of closure in knowing he has been apprehended.”

Sykes had been on the run since Wednesday when a housekeeper at the hotel found Rebecca Cutler, 26, and her three daughters stabbed in their first-floor guest room.1

Cutler was stabbed two dozen times in the gruesome attack, according to a source with knowledge of the incident. She and her daughters, Ziana, 1, and Maliyah, 4 months, succumbed to their injuries. Sykes was Maliyah’s father, authorities said. Cutler’s 2-year-old daughter, Miracle, survived the attack and is in stable condition at Richmond University Medical Center, West Brighton, police said. The toddler, who has seven to nine stab wounds, is conscious and talking, according to a law enforcement source.

“She’s coming along,” her cousin, Michelle Mathis of Brooklyn, told the Advance on Saturday.

ARGUMENT BEFORE STABBINGS

Police said Sykes and Cutler got into an argument Tuesday night because he was jealous of her relationship with the father of her other children. He allegedly snatched her phone during that confrontation.

Sykes was spotted the next day around 7:30 a.m.2 in V & M Bagels & Deli in Castleton Corners, where he bought a can of Coke and a Pop-tart.

“He looked like he was doing something wrong,” store employee Sammy Abdul said, explaining that when Sykes used Cutler’s EBT card to pay for his purchases “his hands were shaking, he was looking to his back like who’s outside.”

Police believe the fatal attack occurred about an hour later. Officials recovered a large kitchen knife at the hotel, which they believe is the murder weapon.

After the incident, Sykes called his mother, confessed to the crime and said he was going to kill himself, police said. Sykes was last seen on surveillance footage Wednesday heading to the St. George Ferry Terminal. He took the ferry back to Manhattan and had been traveling through Brooklyn and Queens, according the Associated Press. He was arrested by police Saturday while ringing the doorbell to a friend’s residence in Queens, NBC 4 reported.3

NYPD Crime Stoppers had offered a $2,500 reward4 for information leading to his arrest.

HOTEL SECURITY INCREASED

Cutler, who was homeless, and her daughters had been given housing at the Ramada by the city Department of Homeless Services. They had been at the hotel since Dec.

6. Following the attack, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the remaining 28 homeless families at the Ramada would be relocated and the hotel would no longer be used.

He added that other hotels used for homeless services would be given access to free 24-hour security.

The city has promised to completely phase out using Staten Island hotels as temporary shelter.5 Plans are being developed as part of a three-month review of the city’s homeless services. For now, the city will continue to offer temporary housing at the Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn, Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Inn on Wild Avenue in Travis. Each accepted the city’s offer of additional security6. Residents who live near the Ramada said Saturday that the incident has shaken the community.

“I knew he wasn’t going to come back here so I wasn’t really worried about that, but now I have to walk outside my house every day and know that there was a blood bath across the street,” said Robert Renaud, who lives across from the hotel.

— Anna Sanders and Joseph Soldano contributed to this report.

References

  1. ^ Rebecca Cutler, 26, and her three daughters stabbed in their first-floor guest room. (www.silive.com)
  2. ^ Sykes was spotted the next day around 7:30 a.m. (www.silive.com)
  3. ^ NBC 4 reported. (www.nbcnewyork.com)
  4. ^ NYPD Crime Stoppers had offered a $2,500 reward (www.silive.com)
  5. ^ The city has promised to completely phase out using Staten Island hotels as temporary shelter. (www.silive.com)
  6. ^ Each accepted the city’s offer of additional security (www.silive.com)

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