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'She Died Very Violently’: Elderly Man Kills His Pregnant Daughter And Buries Her In NYC Home
Anndrea Caruth was in a good stage of life: She had established an early childhood center in New York, and she had a happy relationship with her fiancé and a baby on the way. Then, the Bronx woman went missing.
In the Baychester neighborhood of the Bronx, 39-year-old Anndrea Caruth was a beloved pillar of the community.
Originally from Saint Vincent, Anndrea moved to New York in her 20s and established an early childhood center, Kiddie College, in the multilevel home she shared with her fiancé, Lincoln Grant, and her father, William Caruth. Her life was happy and she had a new source of joy on the way: She was expecting a child. But on Sunday, January 3, 2016, Anndrea inexplicably went missing.
Her failure to show up for brunch was an early sign that something was wrong. “She’d never done that,” her close friend Julia McCall told “New York Homicide,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.
On Monday, Grant phoned McCall and asked her if Anndrea was with her. When he learned that she was a no-show for their date, he called 911.
Why hadn’t he reached out earlier to dispatchers about the disappearance? That became a nagging question. Another puzzle: Why were Anndrea’s phone, wallet, and keys still in the house? Had she even really left?
While there are various reasons people leave home, the fact that Anndrea was five months pregnant escalated concerns, explained Kristian Flood, a retired NYPD detective, 47th precinct, Bronx, who worked the case. Detectives searched the Caruth home and interviewed William, who resided in a small, spare basement apartment, and Grant, who shared the second floor with Anndrea. The daycare was located on the first floor.
Through interviews with Anndrea’s intimates, detectives learned that her relationship with Grant, a construction worker who was also from the Caribbean, was happy and strong. They both were delighted about having a baby.
Detectives questioned why Grant, who’d had no scrapes with the law, took Anndrea’s phone, wallet, and keys with him to work. He said he did it for safekeeping and willingly handed the items over to police.
A K-9 unit was brought into the Caruth home. The cadaver dogs didn't pick up a trace of the missing expectant mom.
To expedite the search, McCall told the media about her best friend’s disappearance. A pregnant woman was missing. Temperatures outside were freezing. “We know that this is going to be a big interest,” said News 12 reporter Amanda Bossard.
Each hour that ticked by raised the chances that the case wouldn’t end well, investigators said. The media attention of the high-profile disappearance intensified the pressure to resolve it — and fast.
Two days into the investigation, detectives returned to the home to further investigate the theory that Anndrea never left the residence. Perhaps the K-9 unit had simply failed to pick up a clue.
“When we got back to the crime scene I got a very faint whiff of an overwhelming odor, and then it was gone,” said Christopher Skulsky, a retired NYPD detective, 47th precinct, Bronx.
Skulsky and Flood proceeded to search the home. They began in William’s basement apartment, where incense was burning as it had been during the first sweep.
The detectives found two large plastic garbage bags streaked with a dark substance. William told them that on Monday night he had sex with a woman he had been dating and then he discarded the soiled linens, said Robert K. Boyce, former NYPD chief of detectives. A preliminary check of the bags confirmed William’s story, but the detectives called in the crime lab to swab the evidence.
Investigators dug deeper into Anndrea’s relationship with her father, who’d come to New York when she did decades earlier. He had helped her to set up the daycare center. But over the years, their bond suffered serious fractures because of financial strains. On one occasion, according to one of Anndrea’s friends, William tried to shake his daughter down for hundreds of dollars to fix their broken boiler. Anndrea then discovered that the boiler had simply been switched off.
Detectives learned that “Anndrea and her father would argue from time to time,” said Flood. Investigators also found out from neighbors that there had been banging noises in the Caruth home around the time of Anndrea’s disappearance. Police obtained a warrant to inspect William’s apartment.
“At this point, we now conducted a very methodical thorough search,” said Flood.
Analysis of the garbage bags revealed that the substance on them was indeed blood. However, police couldn’t confirm at that moment whose blood it was. As the bags were collected into evidence, investigators also noted dried blood on a wall. A hammer was also found nearby.
Investigators extinguished the burning incense and had William leave the apartment. The horrible smell that Skulsky had noticed earlier in the home got stronger and led investigators to a small closet off the furnace room. Anndrea’s body was found buried there.
“She had blunt force trauma,” said Flood. “She had what appeared to be ligature marks around her neck area … She died very violently.”
Detectives were still unclear whether William or Grant or both men, who were at the 47th precinct, were responsible for the murder.
When the detectives told Grant that they “found Anndrea” his immediate reaction was relief — as though there was a happy ending. “For just a moment he looked very happy,” said Skulsky. “But when he realized it wasn't good he just slumped back down and he started to cry.”
In a separate interview room, Flood and Skulsky told William they needed to speak to him about Anndrea. “He looks up at the both of us and he says, ‘I think I need a lawyer,’” Skulsky told producers.
William Caruth was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He was fingerprinted and a DNA swab collected from both of his hands was sent off to the crime lab.
The hammer found in his apartment had Anndrea’s DNA on it. The medical examiner also found William’s DNA under Anndrea’s fingernails. That indicated to Flood that in her final moments, “she was fighting for her life.”
Detectives discovered that William had found out that Anndrea was refinancing the house. Police believe that’s what pushed already strained financial matters between the father and daughter over the edge.
In October 2018, William Caruth, 64, was found guilty of second-degree murder. He received the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.