Crime and Safety

Second man wanted in murder of New York woman found bound and gagged in home

Police said the second man may have been involved in the chilling death of an elderly Manhattan woman who was found bound and gagged in her apartment last week.

Video footage reviewed by investigators but not released to the public shows a still-unidentified man entering the 74-year-old victim’s building on West 83rd Street with murder accused LaShon McKee, police said Tuesday.

Separate footage shows him entering the Brooklyn apartment where McKee, 47, was staying, police said.

Late Monday night, the NYPD released a security camera image showing a person of interest wearing a black mask, winter hat and backpack inside what appears to be a grocery store.

Investigators are looking into whether he was involved in the murder, or at least had “knowledge” of the heinous crime, police say.

Police released a photo of a second person who may be linked to the murder of 74-year-old Maria Hernandez.
Police released a photo of a second person who may be linked to the murder of 74-year-old Maria Hernandez.

Hernandez’s badly beaten and wounded body was found by her sister Maria Terrero when she went to check on her around 9:30 p.m. on January 18, according to police.

Hernandez was left lying face down on the bedroom floor in her ransacked home, according to police and police sources. She was gagged, had sheets and clothes scattered all over her body, and had her hands and feet tied.

Police said the apartment was searched, and an autopsy by a medical examiner later determined that Hernandez had died of asphyxia.

Photograph of Maria Hernandez, 74.
Maria Hernandez, 74, was found dead in her West 83rd Street apartment when her sister came to check on her Wednesday night.
Family photo

McKee, the former warden of the women’s home, was held without bail Sunday night on charges of murder, attempted murder and burglary in connection with the crime. He maintained his innocence.

“This is a particularly brutal murder,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Maxine Rosenthal said during McKee’s arraignment.

“She had extensive injuries, including bruises and abrasions on her face, arms, back, as well as lacerations in the vaginal area and rectum,” Rosenthal said.

“It was clearly a premeditated crime when the defendant went down to the basement before the attack to break into the supervisor’s office and dismantle the security systems located there,” the ADA added to Judge Felicia Mennin.

McKee is a career criminal who was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2000 on charges of first-degree assault and served almost 20 years before being released in 2019, records show.

Rosenthal said in court on Sunday that the victim of the case was stabbed 15 times and left lying in the middle of a Brooklyn street with “intestines hanging from the body.”

LaShon Makki appeared before the Manhattan Criminal Court.
Lashawn Makki, 47, the former chief of the Hernandez household, has already been charged in connection with her murder.
Daniel William McKnight

State corrections records show McKee ended up in jail again in October 2021 and was released again about a month later. It is not clear why he was briefly sent back to jail.

Then, on August 16, McKee was arrested again and charged with grand larceny, burglary and petty theft in Brooklyn, online court records show. He pleaded guilty on December 21 and was scheduled to return to court the following month for sentencing.

He’s due back in Manhattan’s murder court on Friday.

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