(In paragraphs 4, 5, NYPD corrects spelling of last name of victim to McKinney, not McKenny)
Jan 22 (Reuters) - A man accused of murdering at least three elderly residents of a senior housing development in New York City over the span of six years was due to appear in a Brooklyn court on Friday.
The New York City Police Department on Thursday announced it had detained Kevin Gavin, 66, in connection with the murders of three women that took place at the Woodson Houses in Brownsville between 2015 and 2021.
Gavin was familiar with many of the elderly residents of the complex, according to law enforcement, and even used to run errands for some of them.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said investigators pieced together a timeline of the disturbing events thanks forensic evidence and witness testimony that led them to identify Gavin's first victim as Myrtle McKinney, 82, found by her home health aide on Nov. 9, 2015 inside her apartment.
"Initially, it was believed that Ms. McKinney died from natural causes." Rodney told a press conference. "But while being examined a stab wound was discovered."
The wound in the woman's neck led investigators to classify her death as a homicide but the case remained open for years without many leads. Gavin claimed his second victim, Jacolia James, 83, in 2019, police said. Forensic evidence eventually led police to investigate Gavin as a suspect, Harrison said.
The third and most recent victim, police say, was 78-year-old Juanita Caballero. She was found by her son on Jan. 15 with a telephone cord wrapped around her neck.
Harrison said law enforcement is still investigating leads on other incidents in case they are linked to Gavin.
According to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Gavin took advantage of relationships he had with his alleged victims who let him into their home unsuspecting.
"I am confident we have the right person in custody and we will be moving very promptly into impaneling a grand jury to hear the evidence in this case," he said. (Reporting by Maria Caspani; Editing by David Gregorio)