- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Dozens of mourners, some carrying children’s toys, wept as they packed into a funeral home Thursday to attend services for a woman and her two young children who were stabbed to death at a New York City hotel that accommodated homeless people.

The wake and funeral for 26-year-old Rebecca Cutler and her 19-month-old daughter Ziana and 4-month-old daughter Maiyah came 10 days after the three were stabbed to death at the Staten Island hotel. Cutler’s other daughter, 2-year-old Miracle, was critically injured in the attack.

Cutler’s boyfriend and Maiyah’s father has been arrested and charged with numerous crimes.

On Thursday, Mozelle Bull, Cutler’s mother, struggled to catch her breath as she entered Brooklyn Funeral Home in an East Flatbush neighborhood, the New York Times reported (https://nyti.ms/1OiH8le).

“I’m going to see my babies,” she said.

Mourners knelt in front of the coffins, two of the boxes so small they resembled bassinettes.

Miracle and Ziana’s grandfather, Lonnie Deshields, remembered Cutler as he stood outside the funeral home. He recalled when she was dating his son and spent $100 to buy groceries for Deshields’ family.

“If I could take her place, I would,” he told the newspaper. “I’m 47 years old. I haven’t seen everything, but I’ve lived. She didn’t get a chance to live.”

Cutler had gotten a room at the hotel through New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, city officials said.

New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said no one apparently heard or saw what happened in Cutler’s hotel room, but police say surveillance video shows Michael Sykes entering on the morning of Feb. 10 and leaving 4 minutes later. Cutler and the children were stabbed multiple times.

Police said there was no history of domestic violence between the two, but a report filed a day before the stabbing accused Sykes of stealing Cutler’s phone because she allegedly was contacting another man.

Sykes has pleadd not guilty to murder charges; he remained jailed Thursday without bail.

After the attack, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the other 28 families at the hotel were being relocated and the building would no longer be used by homeless services. He said other hotels used for the homeless would be given access to free 24-hour security.


Information from: The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com

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