An intense manhunt stretched into a second day for the man who allegedly stabbed his girlfriend and all three of their children Wednesday morning, killing the woman, his daughter and one of her other children.
Federal agents joined NYPD officers in the search for Michael Sykes Thursday, canvassing New York City's five boroughs for the man suspected of fatally stabbing Rebecca Cutler, 28, their 4-month-old daughter Maiyah Cutler and her one-year-old half sister Ziana Cutler at a Ramada Inn on Staten Island. Sykes is also suspected of stabbing two-year-old Miracle Cutler, who was rushed into surgery after the Wednesday morning stabbing and has been in critical but stable condition since.
Wanted posters for the man blanketed the Howard Houses in Brooklyn where Sykes lived with his parents and younger brother, while detectives, patrol officers and federal authorities looked for signs of the man.
Authorities say that Sykes was seen with Cutler and his family before the stabbings, going to breakfast with them and buying soda and Pop Tarts. He was seen on surveillance footage entering their hotel room, then leaving four minutes later. He got on a bus, and got off at the St. George Ferry Terminal. He wasn't caught on camera again, but is thought to have taken the Staten Island Ferry back to Manhattan.
Authorities say that he called his mother after the attack, confessed to the crime and talked about committing suicide.
Relatives and family friends, meanwhile, said they are shocked by the violence tied to Sykes.
"He comes from a good home," said Barb Hargraves. "I don't know what happened. Don't understand it."
Police said that Sykes has no prior criminal record, but they said that a petit larceny report was filed with police Tuesday after Sykes was accused of stealing the woman's phone, claiming she was contacting another man. She nevertheless went to get breakfast with him the next morning, according to police.
Hargraves urged Sykes to turn himself in.
""Wherever you are, Michael, turn yourself in," she said. "Because God knows. He knows. Just turn yourself in because I know your mother and dad are worrying about you."
City officials say that the Cutler and her family had been living at the hotel since December and had been in and out of the shelter system since 2014. The first time she entered the system, the woman had claimed to be the victim of domestic violence with someone other than Sykes; she later recanted those claims.
Cutler's uncle, Jame Mathis, said the family is still trying to comprehend what happened to Rebecca and her children.
"They're bearing with it. It's not easy but they're bearing with it," he said.