CLICK FOR UPDATE: Teaneck Man Charged in Englewood Double Murder
A 40-year-old woman was stabbed multiple times in her Englewood home and her 5-year-old daughter appeared to have been asphyxiated in a double murder, authorities said Tuesday from the grisly crime scene.
The victims were identified as Tammy Pitts Gaddy, 40, and her 5-year-old daughter, Natasia Gaddy. Tammy Gaddy was found stabbed multiple times on the main floor of the apartment Tuesday afternoon, while Natasia — who was found in the basement — likely died of asphyxiation, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said at a press conference. The little girl was not stabbed, and a garbage bag was found near her body, he said.
As of 11 p.m. Tuesday night, no arrests had been made, Molinelli said.
Authorities believe the crime occurred sometime on Monday.
Police responded to the home Tuesday after several reports of a "burglary in progress," Molinelli said.
When authorities arrived at the home, several family members were already at the house, he said.
Englewood Police Chief Arthur O'Keefe said a uniformed officer driving by the home Tuesday was "flagged down" by a neighbor, because he had seen multiple family members trying to enter the home and mistook them for burglars.
The officer called for backup and upon entering the home, "found multiple people inside...and discovered the bodies," O'Keefe said.
Molinelli said all the people at the home were being questioned and no one was being ruled out as a suspect.
"There were a lot of people in the apartment when the bodies were discovered so we have to go through a very thorough process of ascertaining what their involvement was," Molinelli said. "We don't rule out anyone."
There was no sign of robbery or forced entry, Molinelli said, adding that authorities believe the killer likely acted alone and was "someone she knew."
"We feel that we should be able to pursue this case vigorously and bring this to an arrest shortly," Molinelli added.
Earlier in the afternoon Tuesday, friends and family were seen outside the apartment Gaddy shared with her daughter at the corner of West Palisade Avenue and Palisade Place, which was cordoned off with police tape. A middle-aged woman sobbed loudly in the front yard, as friends embraced her.
Authorities said Tammy Gaddy lived in Englewood most of her life.
A woman, who identified herself as LaTasha, appeared to be in shock as she stood outside the home and told reporters Tammy Gaddy was a close friend who babysat her children.
"She was a good person; I love her to death," she said, adding that Gaddy was "family-oriented."
Molinelli and O'Keefe said this wasn't the first time police had responded to Gaddy's home.
"We have reason to believe that there were some prior issues inside of the apartment," O'Keefe said.
Molinelli added, "There's been a history of arguments there...we don't know whether this was the result of an argument at this time."
There were no restraining orders out against anyone in connection with Gaddy at the time of her death, Molinelli said.
Vaughn Sims, a neighbor, said the child's father was in the hospital after having suffered a stroke recently.
The Englewood council meeting opened with moment of silence for the victims Tuesday night.
"I'm deeply sad at the loss of two Englewood residents. As the facts unfold we'll learn more about what really did happen, but regardless of whatever the details are, I'm saddened," said Councilman Wayne Hamer, who represents the 4th ward, where the murders took place.
"And if there are things that we can do to prevent that type of activity, we absolutely need to do that with full force."
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Editor's Note: Authorities first said the young girl was three years old, but later determined she was five.