Mother, 2 Daughters Die After Stabbing at Hotel; Toddler Hurt

Police are still searching for the man who allegedly stabbed his girlfriend and all three of her children Wednesday morning, killing the woman, his daughter and one of her other children at a hotel being used for homeless housing, authorities said.d

Rebecca Cutler, 28, and her three daughters — ages 1, 2 and 4-months-old — were all stabbed at a Ramada Inn on Staten Island, authorities said.

Cutler was pronounced dead when she arrived at the hospital. One-year-old Ziana Cutler died not long after, and Mayor de Blasio said that Maiyah Sykes, the 4-month-old daughter Cutler and stabbing suspect Michael Sykes share, died later Wednesday morning.

The third child, two-year-old Miracle, was rushed into surgery after the stabbing and is expected to survive the attack. She was out of surgery by Thursday morning and was in critical but stable condition.

"There is nothing more horrible than the notion of an adult who would attack an innocent child," de Blasio said. "This is an atrocious crime and I think every parent would share my view.

Sykes, 23, is wanted for questioning after he called someone after the stabbings and confessed to the crimes. He told that person he was thinking of committing suicide, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

Police had yet to locate Sykes Thursday morning. He lives in Brooklyn and police believe he may have taken a bus or ferry to another location. 

Authorities say that Sykes, the mother and the three children were seen at a deli on Victory Boulevard at about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Police said the family and Sykes went to get breakfast together Wednesday morning and were seen on surveillance video returning to the motel at about 8 a.m. Sykes didn't enter the room with them, instead staying in the hallway outside the room, according to police.

He returned at 8:50 a.m., went into the room and left four minutes later; that's when Boyce said police think the man stabbed the family.

He rode a bus to the St. George Ferry Terminal afterward and took the ferry back to Manhattan. 

"Call 911 immediately if you see him," Boyce said.

A housekeeper found the injured family sometime later and called police, who discovered a bloody, black-handled knife nearby, the official said.

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. 

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.

"Lord have mercy on their souls. It's sad to even -- I can't believe it now. I'm really heartstruck," said another shelter resident named Jonathan, who said he was friends with the mother and her three children. 

"They were so cool. I used to sometimes go to the room and say hi. Friendly,' he said. 

A woman who gave her name only as Amanda said she got a frantic call from her sister, who also lives in the hotel.

Her sister told her that "there's a man in there stabbing babies and that she's real scared, and they told to close all the doors, they can't find the man -- that he already hurt three kids and to shut the windows," said Amanda. 

"She had the door closed but she's hearing screaming on the floor she is on, on the first floor," she said. 

Hundreds of families have stayed in hotels in recent months as city officials determine whether they can be placed more permanently in other city facilities. Because the Ramada was also being used by families who weren't homeless, the city official said there were no special security measures at the hotel.

Contact information for Sykes and his family members was not immediately available.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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