Police are investigating the death of a 16-year-old boy in the Bronx, New York. He was apparently robbed and stabbed to death after agreeing to meet up with a girl he met on Facebook.
Ricardo Romero decided to meet up with a girl who identified herself on Facebook as “Chiquita Andy”. They agreed to meet on Jan. 16 at an apartment building on Creston Avenue in Fordham Heights.
According to police, when Romero arrived, he was approached by a group of young men who hit him over the head with a bottle, stabbed him on the left side of his chest and robbed him of his cellphone and wallet.
After the attack, Romero stumbled to the corner and collapsed on E. 182nd Street. A passerby alerted police officers, who tried to resuscitate Romero while an ambulance was called.
Romero was then rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he died 25 minutes later.
The victim’s family last saw him on Jan. 15. They told the New York Daily News they were worried because Romero always left a note whenever he was not going to come home.
“I was crying,” said Viridiana Romero, the victim’s sister. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Authorities said the incident was captured by surveillance cameras.
A suspect by the name of Christian Juarez was arrested on Jan. 17 and is being held without bail on murder, robbery and weapon possession charges.
According to court papers, Juarez told detectives that an accomplice by the name of “Skip” was responsible for Romero’s death.
“Skip hit him with a glass bottle,” Juarez said. “I then punched him twice in the face.
“I was going through the victim's pockets, then Skip pulled out a knife from his back pocket and stabbed him two to three times in the torso,” he added.
The girl who lured Romero into the robbery identified herself as Andy to the New York Daily News. She is said to be Juarez’s girlfriend, but police have not confirmed this. Andy, 17, admitted to witnessing the robbery and corroborated Juarez’s story.
“Christian had nothing to do with it,” Andy said in court Saturday night. “I told him to run. I ran.”
Andy was questioned by detectives but has yet to be charged.
Juarez’s mother also said her son is innocent. “Everything they’re saying is a lie,” she told New York Daily News. “He did not do anything.”
Another suspect, Christopher Garcia, 27, has been charged with conspiracy after he admitted to participating in the robbery. He is being held on $50,000 bail, according to prosecutors.
“Christian came to me and asked me to help out with a robbery that him and his girl was going to do,” Garcia told detectives. “I agreed to it no problem. I get dress(ed) and followed Christian to the apartment.”
The third suspect is still on the run.
Residents in the neighborhood are concerned about their safety.
“It makes you afraid of leaving the apartment to even go to the store,” resident Donna Simmons said. “You don’t know what’s on the other side of the door.”