By Mike Dougherty, Oren Liebermann, Jennifer Bernstein, Nicole Brewer
PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – Police have made an arrest in an attack on a sleeping 6-year-old boy who was stabbed to death inside the bedroom of his Camden home early Sunday. The unprovoked attack also critically wounded his 12-year-old sister, who was also asleep in the room, prosecutors said. Two other children in the home were unharmed.
Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk and Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson announced the arrest of Osvaldo Rivera, 31, of Camden, on Monday shortly after 11 a.m.
Rivera is accused of killing six-year-old Dominick Andujor early Sunday morning. His 12-year-old sister is fighting for her life at Cooper Medical center after having her neck slashed.
Neighbors along the 900 block of Ware Street are stunned and saddened. Nakyta McCray said the 12-year-old girl went next door begging for help after the attack.
“There was a whole bunch of blood. It looked like it was coming out of her neck. But she was still alive, still talking. She told another one of our neighbors that Poppy did it.”
Interviews led investigators to learn that Rivera lived in the area and went by the nickname “Popeye.” Rivera was known to spend nights at an apartment on the 3200 block of River Road and police found him there about 4 p.m. Sunday hiding between a mattress and a bedroom wall. Police also found blood-stained sneakers that matched bloody footprints in the home on Ware Street. Charges were filed against Rivera about 2 a.m. Monday morning.
“Everybody knows him. He’s on this block everyday; playing with the kids, talking to some of the adults. It’s very shocking,” McCray said.
“Several citizens came forward and showed the courage to provide information, which helped lead to the initial apprehension,” said Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Lieutenant Frank Falco, who oversees the investigators in the office’s homicide unit. “Also deserving of credit are homicide detectives from our office and Camden who worked around the clock and Camden’s SWAT team, which arrested the individual at the residence on 32nd Street and River Avenue.”
Also in the home were two girls, age 9 and 14, said Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Camden County prosecutor’s office. The teenager had been babysitting the other three children because their mother was in the hospital. Authorities were still trying to locate the father of the children, who lives outside New Jersey.
Further details on the girl’s injuries and the stabbings, including what type of weapon was used, were not disclosed.
The girl was taken to Cooper University Hospital, but officials there would not discuss her condition, citing privacy issues.
During an interview with police, Rivera stated he had smoked “wet,” a combination of marijuana and PCP, prior to killing Dominic and attacking his sister.
This marks the second time there appears to be a connection between this drug and the slaying of a child. Chevonne Thomas is believed to have been smoking wet prior to beheading her two-year-old son Zahree on August 22 in Camden.
“That’s the new fad right now, wet, they’re all smoking it right now,” said neighbor Leonard Biles.
The Camden County Prosecutors office expressed concern over its use in the city saying “wet” appeared to have played a part in several murders of the years.
Oscar Hernandez runs My Brother’s Keeper- a Christian recovery ministry that helps those afflicted with addiction. He says “wet” is becoming a big problem in Camden and puts it in the same category as heroine.
“We’ve seen people just, not being themselves,” said Hernandez, “someone who is going through some hallucination in the mind, and they’re in another dimension.”
While the search continues for why this might have happened, neighbors here so no matter what you’re on, this crime is unimaginable. “I think he should suffer, and spend the rest of his life in jail,” said McCray.
The prosecutor’s office said they “will be taking steps to curb the market for this exceedingly dangerous and destructive drug”.
Rivera has been charged with Murder and Attempted Murder and is being held at the Camden County Jail. His arraignment is expected to be held Tuesday.
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