UPDATE: Teaneck Man Charged in Englewood Double Murder
Police are questioning a person of interest Wednesday in the murders of an Englewood woman and her young daughter who were found dead Tuesday in the red brick apartment they shared on W. Palisade Avenue, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.
Longtime Englewood resident Tammy Gaddy, 40, was found Tuesday with multiple stab wounds and her 5-year-old daughter, Natasia, a student at the Quarles Early Learning Center, appears to have been asphyxiated in what police have classified as a double homicide. A school district spokeswoman said grief counselors have been made available at the school Wednesday.
Molinelli would not identify the person of interest under questioning, but he and Englewood Police Chief Arthur O'Keefe said Tuesday they believed the perpetrator knew the victims.
"We are looking at all possibilities, including the father, boyfriend, acquaintances, but we believe that, based upon the manner in which access to the house was gained, it is someone that she knew," he said at a press conference Tuesday, explaining that while there were signs of forced entry to the apartment, they appeared to have resulted from individuals attempting to check on the welfare of Gaddy and her daughter, not from an intruder.
Molinelli added that this wasn't the first time police had responded to Gaddy's apartment.
"There's been a history of arguments there," he said Tuesday. "We don't know whether this was the result of an argument at this time."
The apartment building's owner, Lewis Giannini, said there had been "many" issues involving Gaddy over the seven or eight years she rented the apartment from him, but declined to go into specifics.
Despite the apparent history of arguments at the apartment, Molinelli said there were no restraining orders out against anyone in connection with Gaddy at the time of her death.
Neighbors and friends painted Gaddy as a kind, giving woman and a great mother who often could be seen around the neighborhood with her young daughter.
A 1990 graduate of Dwight Morrow High School where she was a baton twirler in the marching band, Gaddy worked as a bus aide for John Leckie Bus Company at the time of her death, according to neighbors.
"It's heartbreaking, it's just so awful. It's just so unbelievable," said a neighbor named Keith, who recalled a time when his car broke down and Gaddy offered to drive him around.
Another neighbor, who identified herself as Kesha, said her daughter used to play with Gaddy's daughter, Natasia, whom she called sweet and outgoing.
"[Gaddy] was with her daughter every single day," Kesha said. "There wasn't a day that you didn't see them together."
Roesha Hooks, 28, who said her mother was friends with Gaddy, stopped by the apartment building Wednesday morning to drop off a baby Jesus candle, lip gloss and a Minnie Mouse stuffed animal that she said reminded her of Natasia.
"She was so dainty, so delicate," Hooks said.
Police are not allowing friends and family to place vigil candles at the scene, but a single bouquet of flowers rests at the traffic island directly outside the apartment.