Juanita Caballero’s body was found just before 5 p.m. on January 15 in the hallway of her Powel Street apartment at the Carter G. Woodson NYCHA senior housing development in the Brownsville section.
Caballero’s son told police he found the body. The front door was locked, and the son said he tried to perform CPR. The Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death to be asphyxia.
Detectives said there was no sign of forced entry, and nothing appeared to be taken.
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Officials identified the suspect as 66-year-old Kevin Gavin, the brother of a man who lived there and was known to help elderly residents with their errands. Police said he did live in the building as well, but it was unclear if he was living in the brother’s apartment.
In November of 2015, 82-year-old Myrtle McKinney was discovered dead on her kitchen floor by police.
It was initially ruled to be natural causes but later reclassified as homicide after a knife wound was found on the back of her neck. She also suffered three broken ribs.
Detectives are said to have long eyed Gavin, but he was never charged due to lack of evidence.
He is also now suspected in the 2019 death of 83-year-old Jacolia James, discovered dead in her 11th floor apartment with trauma to her head and torso.
That case was not initially linked to the 2015 death.
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A fourth death in the building in 2019 is not being linked at the moment, but the investigation is ongoing.
Councilwoman Inez Barron and Assemblyman Charles Barron are also holding a news conference Thursday afternoon in which they are expected to call for enhanced cameras and lighting.
“NYCHA is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our residents,” the agency said in a statement. “This building currently has a lobby camera, security doors and locks, and a security guard, and we are also working diligently with our city partners to expedite the installation of CCTV cameras.”
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