Man in Custody in Murder of Bound Harlem Woman

Police are pursuing a man seen in the building earlier in the day.

By Shimon Prokupecz, Jonathan Dienst and Katy Tur
|  Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011  |  Updated 8:32 PM EDT
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Police in Harlem are investigating the murder of a 73-year-old woman. The victim's daughter found her mother inside her apartment with saran wrap around her head, and her legs tied with a scarf. Katy Tur reports.

NBC New York

Police in Harlem are investigating the murder of a 73-year-old woman. The victim's daughter found her mother inside her apartment with saran wrap around her head, and her legs tied with a scarf. Katy Tur reports.

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Police say they have a man in custody in the death of a 73-year-old woman found in her Harlem apartment Tuesday with plastic wrap over her head and her feet bound with a scarf.

Police said Wednesday that a man was seen knocking on her door early Tuesday, and were looking to question Gregory Velez in the woman's murder.

Velez was apprehended Wednesday in the Bronx, and was being held at the 25th Precinct.

According to a source, he was identified by witnesses as being in the building Tuesday afternoon. Another source said he was seen on surveillance video carrying the victim's television.

Velez is said to have a child with the victim's niece.

The elderly woman was found by her daughter inside her apartment at 445 E. 120th St. by her daughter, who went to check on her mother when she did not show up for a hair appointment where the two planned to meet.

The woman, identified by her daughter as Julie Hernandez, had plastic wrap over her head, and her feet were bound by a scarf.

"My mom was dead on the floor," said Hernandez's daughter, Jeanette Hernandez. "It was an apparent robbery. They stole several items from the apartment."

It was unclear how long Hernandez had been dead.

A television was among the items that appeared to be missing from the apartment, said Jeanette Hernandez.

Julie Hernandez had been living at the Wagner Houses building for 50 years, with no problems of any sort in the past, said her daughter.

"Everyone knew her, everyone loved her," added Julie Hernandez's granddaughter, Jasminda Otero. "Why would they do such an awful thing to her?"

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