I-Team: NYPD Still Has No Answers Into Harvard Grad’s Mysterious Death in Brooklyn - NBC New York
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I-Team: NYPD Still Has No Answers Into Harvard Grad’s Mysterious Death in Brooklyn

'I feel like if you’re black and you die, you get what you deserve and there is no investigation,' his frustrated mother told the I-Team.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police Still Have No Answers About Harvard Grad’s Mysterious Brooklyn Death

    The victim's family says they have no idea what he would have been doing in the East New York building, miles away from his home in Ozone Park, Queens. But they say the NYPD has yet to give them much real information regarding the mysterious death. The I-Team's Sarah Wallace reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019)

    What to Know

    • Anthony Sylvester, a high school military standout and Harvard graduate, was found dead in June in a rundown Brooklyn apartment building

    • Relatives told News 4 they have no idea what the aspiring real estate entrepreneur was doing in the neighborhood, miles from his Queens home

    • “I feel like if you’re black and you die, you get what you deserve and there is no investigation," his frustrated mother told the I-Team.

    “I don’t feel like they are investigating at all. Black man found dead in a bad neighborhood. They didn’t care.”

    Maryse Heriveaux doesn’t mince words when she talks about the NYPD investigation into her son’s death. The body of 36-year-old Anthony Sylvester, a high school military standout and Harvard graduate, was found in late June in a rundown Brooklyn apartment building in East New York.

    Sylvester’s relatives told the I-Team they have no idea what the aspiring real estate entrepreneur was doing in that neighborhood, miles away from the family home in Ozone Park, Queens. He did not have a driver’s license.

    “We don’t know anyone there,” said his mother. “It’s a complete mystery.”

    The family says they were told Sylvester’s phone and wallet were missing. His address was located from a check in his pocket.

    “He came out of his room around 1:30 pm and said he was going to step out and be right back, “ said Lionel Heriveaux, Syvlester’s stepfather. “He was supposed to take his niece and nephew to the park.”

    The next day, two detectives came from the 75th pct. to break the news. Since that day, the family says they have heard nothing. “We call and call and leave messages and no one gets back to us,” said Heriveaux.

    The cause of death is a mystery, too. It is pending further study.

    Sylvester’s stepfather wonders why no detectives ever talked to the family or Sylvester’s many friends. Cops never asked for his laptop, which is still in his room.

    “That would seem to be part of the investigation,” he said.

    “Tell us something, anything,” said his mother. “It’s completely silent.”

    In a statement, an NYPD spokesperson said, “The NYPD understands the family is looking for answers in the wake of their tragic loss, and members of the 75th pct. are in contact with the victim’s family as updates in the case become available.”

    “That’s just not true,” said Sylvester’s stepdad. “We even went to the precinct on August 1st and were told nothing except the case is still under investigation.”

    At the East New York building where Sylvester’s body was found, the I-Team spoke with a man who said he had been with the victim the day he died. The man declined to give his name.

    “I don’t know what happened. I left the apartment; my friend was there. Unfortunately, bad things happen. When I came back, he was in bad shape. I called police, 911,” he said.

    He refused to provide any more details and said the questioning was “absurd.”

    There’s another twist in the mystery. Sylvester had bought investment property several years ago in a different section of East New York, which he claimed in court papers had been targeted by deed fraud scammers. His relatives say so-called investors had pressured him to make a financial deal.

    “I don’t feel like he felt physically threatened, but I did,” said his mother. “They were very aggressive. I just want to know what happened to my son,” she added. “I feel like if you’re black and you die, you get what you deserve and there is no investigation.”

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