3 Are Dead After Bronx Man Sets Apartment Afire, Police Say

NY Times - March 03, 2011


A Bronx man fatally stabbed his wife Wednesday morning, then set fire to their fifth-floor apartment, killing their 1-year-old daughter and himself, the authorities said.

The blaze erupted about 7:50 a.m. in a six-story brick building at 2275 Morris Avenue, off East 183rd Street in Fordham Heights, said a Fire Department spokesman. Investigators said they believed that the father, Vincente Cordero, 34, had stabbed his wife several times after an argument and then set the apartment afire, which killed himself and the baby girl. Mr. Cordero was initially in critical condition after the fire, and had been charged with counts of murder, arson, reckless endangerment and second-degree assault. He died Wednesday evening at Westchester Medical Center.

His wife was identified by the police and her relatives as Kety Sanchez, 30, and his child as Keiri Cordero.

Ms. Sanchez's mother, Deyanira Perez, who lived in the home, was able to flee, officials said. Two boys, described by a relative as about 11 and 9 years old, had left for school before the fire.

Ms. Sanchez was discovered lying on the floor of a bedroom, severely burned and stabbed three times in the chest; the baby was found face down in her crib in the same room, but had not been stabbed, an official said. Mr. Cordero was found on the floor of the living room.

"I can't believe it," said Rosely Rodriguez, 18, a cousin of Ms. Sanchez who also lives in the building. "It's so sad."

It was not immediately clear if an accelerant like gasoline or kerosene had been used to spread the flames, or which room had been ignited first.

Three other people suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to a hospital, but their injuries were not life-threatening.

One neighbor, Erick Carpio, 20, said he was asleep in Apartment 4C when he felt "an explosion" and was awakened by his mother, who also heard the noise. He ran into the burning apartment; he said that Ms. Sanchez's mother was screaming, "The baby! The baby! The baby!"

Mr. Carpio, beginning to cry, added, "I just tried to jump the fire, and I couldn't make it."

He said that the Sanchez family had been living in the apartment for at least three years, and that though he had occasionally heard arguing coming from the home, he characterized it as "loud but not aggressive."