Photos have been taken of a mother and daughter found dead in a suspected murder-suicide in their Brooklyn apartment. Their neighbor revealed that the woman appeared agitated for less than an hour before residents heard screams.
The bodies of Azalea Rivas, 37, her 14-year-old daughter Azaria, and their dog were discovered on September 25 in a home on Brooklyn’s New York Avenue in Little Haiti.
Kathleen Kiki, 57, told DailyMail.com that she crossed paths with her neighbor at around 6.13am on Friday morning. Both women were walking their dogs.
“She wasn’t herself,” Kiki said.
Rivas was wearing AirPods and talking to someone. She seemed “very excited.”
Kiki greeted her and asked if everything was okay, to which Rivas replied, “Yes, you know.”
Azalea Rivas (right) and daughter Azaria (back) were found dead in their Brooklyn apartment on September 25
A neighbor said Rivas was ‘not being himself’ and seemed ‘agitated’ for hours before shouting and banging was heard
The neighbor added that she often saw the mother and daughter walking together
This was out of character, as Rivas usually appeared “happy, cheerful and friendly.” Kiki often saw the mother and daughter walking to the store together.
The pair had talked about bringing their dogs together for a dog play date.
She thought it was an older person in the building who died, but when she found out it was her new neighbor and her daughter, she was shocked and saddened.
“I cried,” she said. ‘I don’t think she would have taken her life or that of her daughter.
“I hope they catch whoever did this.”
Kiki’s 19-year-old daughter, Kiera, said she had never met the mother or daughter, but was shocked to learn such a heinous crime had occurred in her neighborhood.
“It’s also the first time I’ve ever heard of a murder happening since we’ve lived here,” said Kiera, who moved to the block from Harlem with her mother three years ago.
‘It’s heartbreaking. You don’t expect to hear things like that. And the dog!’
Azaria was stabbed once in the back, but blunt force trauma to the head was thought to have killed her.
She was found with a bag over her head that likely contained blood spatter, NYPD Chief Detective Joseph Kenny said.
Rivas died of a punctured lung, but she also suffered knife wounds to her neck and wrists that appeared to be self-inflicted.
The dog, named Biscuit, also had a bag over his head.
The 37-year-old died of a punctured lung, but also had wounds to her neck and wrists that appeared to be self-inflicted
Azaria was stabbed once in the back, but it was believed she died of blunt force trauma to the head
Police could not confirm whether the deaths were the result of murder or murder-suicide
‘You see a mother and her daughter, there is always drama between mothers and daughters. I never saw anything alarming,” said neighbor Steve Schor.
The 38-year-old and his wife have been living in the apartment directly below the scene of the gruesome murder since June. They were the first residents to enter the building.
On Friday morning around 7:22 am, Schor and his wife woke up to loud banging and screaming.
He said his dog Lucky started barking loudly. Concerned, the neighbor called 911 and told operators it sounded like someone was being “murdered” upstairs.
“This was not a typical sound,” he said. ‘We heard the whole thing going down – it was loud and there was banging and shouting – until there was no sound anymore.
‘What hit me very hard was that the dog had suffocated. It’s very difficult to shake that off.’
Officers from the 67th Precinct arrived and knocked on the door of Rivas’ apartment, but no one responded.
Schor heard one of the officers ask a supervisor whether he should stay or leave. He said the officer left the scene a few minutes later.
Everything was quiet all weekend, but on Monday around 2:30 p.m., an upstairs neighbor called the police about a foul odor in the building.
After the call, Schor said there was a swarm of police, lieutenants and detectives present “all day and night.”
Police arrived by the time the man, reportedly Rivas’ ex-boyfriend, arrived and broke into the apartment, only to find the bodies. He screamed before collapsing and being taken to a hospital.
The bodies were wheeled out on stretchers around 10 p.m. Schor and other shocked residents watched as they were carried through the lobby.
Rivas’ ex-boyfriend had been trying to contact the couple since Friday, he said, but they didn’t answer.
“So this obviously happened on Friday when we called 911, and nothing was done until yesterday,” Schor said. So that’s two days of them just sitting there, without any notice or anything.”
Schor’s upstairs neighbors told him they started smelling the decomposing bodies.
“When the police left (on Friday), I thought: They’re leaving, and they’re not doing anything about it. So it was concerning, but what can I do? “I’m just an ordinary guy,” he said.
“I bet if this was the Upper East Side, they would have broken down the door. I used to live on the Upper East Side, and if something like that happened, they would be there five minutes, not an hour later.”
Schor claimed to have heard some details about the crime as detectives stormed the building.
He said: ‘I remember the police saying yesterday there was blood everywhere. And they said it looked like they were fighting on the ground.”
Another neighbor said he called 911 Friday morning after hearing screaming and banging coming from the apartment
Police knocked on the door of Rivas’ unit, but no one answered. On Monday, another resident called to complain about the smell of rotting meat
The bodies were removed around 10 p.m., as residents watched as they were carried through the lobby
Rivas’ uncle posted a message on social media that read, “Mental health officials, New York Child Protective Services and the NYPD have failed them.”
The 38-year-old, who already suffers from PTSD, said he constantly worries about his safety.
‘There is only one door with a piece of glass that protects us from the outside world. Whether it was a murder, suicide or homicide, it doesn’t matter. Make us feel safe in our apartment,” he said.
He added that the security camera outside the building’s front door was “basically our only form of security.”
When asked if the building informed tenants about the heinous crime, Schor said the property manager called and assured him he would come by, but he never did.
“I think the city is responsible for taking care of us, especially since they’re the ones who left and didn’t do anything,” he said.
Schor said he and his wife moved to a house in Pennsylvania during the pandemic, but she worried about being in the middle of the woods and being killed in an ax murder.
“So we moved here and then this happened. That’s why I prefer the bears.’
As to whether he planned to stay in the building in Little Haiti, Schor said it was not clear. He planned to talk to the landlord because “we pay a lot of money to live here.
“I’ll think about that every day I’m here,” he said. “Repeating the sounds over and over again. Now that I know what happened, the images come from the expectation of what it would have been like, and that is terrible.”
An NYPD spokesperson told DailyMail.com that the investigation is ongoing. The department could not confirm whether it was a murder-suicide or murder.
A day after her death, Azalea’s uncle posted on Facebook: ‘Many stories will come out, but the only true story is that Azalea loved her baby!
“Mental health officials, New York Child Protective Services and the NYPD failed them.”
No arrests have been made.