New York police arrest man accused of fatally stabbing homeless mother, young children

New York police officers arrested a man suspected of stabbing a homeless women and her two infant children to death, on Feb 13, 2016.
New York police officers arrested a man suspected of stabbing a homeless women and her two infant children to death, on Feb 13, 2016.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City police said on Saturday (Feb 13) that they had arrested a man suspected of fatally stabbing a homeless woman and her two infant children, one of whom was his daughter, at a hotel where they had been sheltering.

Michael Sykes, 23, of Brooklyn, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, as well as robbery, the NYPD said in a statement on Saturday night.

Ms Rebecca Cutler, 26, and her three children aged two years old, one year old and four months old, were all found stabbed on Wednesday at a Ramada Inn on Staten Island, where the city had been putting them up in lieu of a shelter.

Only the two-year-old survived the attack.

The authorities said Sykes was the father of the youngest child.

"Thanks goes to the hard-working officers of the NYPD for bringing Mr Sykes into custody," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, adding "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."

Chief of Detectives for the New York City Police Department Robert Boyce said security cameras at the motel showed Sykes entering the room where the family had been staying.

Sykes left the room a few minutes later and took a bus to a ferry that runs between Staten Island and Manhattan. Police believe he stabbed Ms Cutler and the children before leaving.

Police said Sykes and Ms Cutler had an argument on Tuesday and were seen at a delicatessen with the children early on Wednesday morning.