A 14-year-old boy is accused of raping and murdering an 83-year-old woman in Baltimore.
Tyrone Harvin just turned 14 last month, according to the Baltimore Sun. Police announced on Friday that they think he is responsible for the sexual assault and subsequent killing of Dorothy Mae Neal.
“Almost 70 years separate our victim and suspect,” police spokesman T.J. Smith said at a news conference Friday, according to the Sun. “It’s sad all the way around. There’s some systematic failure in the 14-year-old’s life to allow us to be here talking about him being accused of murder and rape. It’s just a very tragic situation all the way around.”
A neighbor in the apartment complex grew concerned when they didn't see Neal for a few days, so the neighbor called police, according to WBAL-TV in Baltimore. Police found Neal on Aug. 29, unresponsive and with apparent wounds from an assault. She was transported to a local hospital where she died the following day.
Neal died from blunt-force trauma after Harvin allegedly "beat her to death," Smith said. An autopsy revealed that she had been sexually assaulted. Detectives tied the boy to the crime using physical evidence, he said. Police think Harvin may have been doing a chore for Neal, and there was no sign of forced entry into the basement apartment where Neal lived.
A woman who said she was the boy's mother told the Sun Harvin was wrongly accused.
“I’m hurting because I know my son wouldn’t do nothing like this. I know my son,” she said, wiping away tears, according to the Sun. “My son didn’t do it.”
The woman said she didn't know the victim and that police hadn't spoken to her. Another man said he was Harvin's older brother and that Harvin recently had a GPS monitoring device removed, because he was doing better.
Court records show that Harvin had a previous incident involving armed robbery and assault in December of 2017, but the case was moved back to juvenile court and prosecuted there, according to WBAL-TV.
As for Neal, she did not have any family in Baltimore, according to Rev. Dianna Roy of 11th Hour Ministries on Frederick Avenue in Baltimore, where Neal attended religious services. She did, however, have family in Alabama, where she had recently traveled. Roy said Neal was a kind person, and also a missionary.
“She had a giving spirit. I can’t understand why anybody would want to hurt her,” Roy told the Baltimore Sun.
The neighbor who notified police said she was happy police made an arrest and that she didn't want to give her name because she was concerned for her safety.
“I’m glad they caught him,” she told the newspaper. “She’s in a better place.”
In Baltimore, suspects who are 14 and charged with major offenses like rape are automatically charged as adults. However, suspects under the age of 16 can request a judge move their cases to juvenile court, which focuses on rehabilitation, according to the Baltimore Sun. Those suspects are released on their 21st birthday.
Harvin is charged with first-degree murder, rape and some sex offense and assault charges.
[Photo: Baltimore Police Department]