2006_12_haydeesoto.jpgIt had been a few days since anyone had seen Haydee Soto or her children, 13 year old Valerie Rivera and 15 year old John James Bordoy at the Walt Whitman Houses in Fort Greene. A smell had been coming from the family's apartment, so neighbors and relatives asked the police to open the door, only to find a grim scene. The dead bodies of Soto, Rivera, and Bordoy, as well as Hector Viera, in different rooms. Police believe Viera killed the three with a baseball bat and then committed suicide by overdosing (a hypodermic needle was found in his arm). The bodies were so badly beaten that the NY Times says that "it made it unclear what had caused their deaths," but City Councilwoman Letitia James said, "All indications are that it was a murder-suicide." The Post on the crime:

Cops theorized that Viera first killed the mom in the living room while her children were at school, then dragged her body into her bed to make it seem as if she were sleeping. They suspect he then separately killed each of the children as they arrived home.

While the NY Times delicately writes the relationship between Soto and Viera was "murky," the Daily and Post report that Soto and Viera were half-siblings may have been lovers as well. While Soto would call Viera her brother, the Post reports that Rivera told friend Carmen Tirado about her mother and Viera, saying Soto "doesn't like to be by herself." Tirado told the Daily News, "He always slept in her room. Valerie didn't believe that was her uncle, because why would her uncle sleep with her mom? In the street, he acted like she was his girl." Soto and Viera's family, however, deny the allegations. Bordoy's aunt said about Bordoy and Rivera, "They were great kids. Their father is destroyed." Bordoy had muscular dystrophy and used a wheelchair.

The police had no reports of domestic violence between Soto and Viera, but neighbors had heard their loud fights which traveled through floors. Neighbors described Viera as "withdrawn, angry" and unapproachable. And neighbors aren't sure how long the bodies were in the apartment, but they did notice the smell this weekend. One told the Times, "It’s an odor you cannot explain," while another told the AP, "It smelled like somebody had defecated in the hallway."