The detectives called them Zeke and Zane. The identical twin newborns lived only about 24 hours before they were murdered in the Bronx last November. Their bodies were never claimed, and their killer remains at large.
Nearly a year after their murder, the NYPD paid tribute to the newborns by laying them to rest with a dignified and honorable funeral service on Sept. 25.
The twins had been found on Nov. 9, 2020 dead from blunt force trauma in the courtyard behind an apartment building on College Avenue at East 172nd Street. According to the medical examiner’s office, the deaths were so fresh that the umbilical cords were still attached.
The extensive case has lasted almost a year, seeing the NYPD use every tool they could in an attempt to find the twins’ mother and the motive for the babies’ grim end. To this date, both questions remains unresolved.
In lieu of identifying any relatives, detectives in the investigation have evolved into surrogate family members, ending their eight-month relationship by bidding them farewell through a funeral service.
Both bodies were contained within a small white casket adorned with a bouquet during the Sept. 25 service at the East End Funeral Home, located at 725 E. Gun Hill Road. A litany of officers and detectives close to the case provided an emotional send-off for those in attendance, who placed their hands on Zeke and Zane’s casket before it was transported to a hearse via the sound of trumpets.
“It was important as you can see the number of detectives who showed up here today. Detectives have been working on this case since November, when we found the newborn identical twins, basically thrown in the garbage in the rear of the building on College Avenue in the Bronx,” said Lt. Sean O’Toole of the Bronx Homicide Squad. “We’ve been working every day on this case. As of right now, we still don’t have any leads.”
Although the twins are being laid to rest, detectives assure that the case is still ongoing. Leaving the service, Detectives Shamika Thomas and Brianna Constantino from Bronx Homicide vowed that they will not stop until they uncover the truth behind the infants’ deaths.
Additionally, they implored the community to contact the NYPD tip line with any piece information that they can recall from the night of the murders.
“I’m grateful that there was a lot of support. The babies didn’t have families, so we were their family. It was amazing to see just how many people came out to support the babies,” Detective Thomas said. “We could still use the help from the community, and we would be grateful for any tips, small, big, just anything from the community. It’s almost a year later and we haven’t given up, and we won’t. We will continue to fight and solve this for the babies.”
The police have worked closely with Mr. Cole, the superintendent who found the babies’ bodies who shares that all these months later the neighborhood is still rocked by this crime. Although there is much heartbreak, officers believe that the only way to regain a semblance of closure is to discern the circumstances behind this case.
“For us too, it was the start of closure and solving this crime will be the end of our closure. I think there is someone out there that needs help and we are here and the doors are both in the 44th in Bronx homicide if somebody is intimately involved in this and wants to speak. We are open to that. I think solving this and finding out what happened will be our final closure,” said Detective Constantino.
Flyers offering rewards for any information regarding this case have been placed all around the Bronx area, and officers say that any piece of information an individual may have can be invaluable to the case.
“Don’t be afraid, pick up the phone and call us. We are going to follow up on every tip. Hopefully, we will be able to find the mother of these children,” Lieutenant O’Toole said, explaining that whatever situation the mother was in, the NYPD wants to be there to help.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.