HUNTS POINT — A 15-year-old girl who dreamed of becoming a lawyer was found dead Friday morning in a relative’s Barretto Street apartment building, according to relatives and police.
Destiny Sanchez was found laying bruised and unconscious in the lobby of 640 Barretto St., between Spofford and Randall avenues, shortly after 8 a.m., police said. Emergency responders could not revive her.
Destiny had been visiting relatives who lived in the building on Thursday, according to a relative. Two of her family members were walking their dog into the building Friday morning when they stumbled across her badly bruised and limp frame just inside the doorway to the building, a relative said. Sources said she had bruises on her face and stomach.
“She was still alive a little when they found her,” said the relative. “Her face was popped out [from swelling] and her lips were blue.”
Police said they were investigating Friday. Sources said they were questioning a 36-year-old man.
People staying in the building next to the one where Destiny was found said they heard a female shrieking outside early Friday morning.
“I heard mad noise going on,” said Ian Patterson, 22, who was visiting an aunt in the building. “I said, ‘This ain’t arguing, that’s people screaming.’”
The medical examiner will perform an autopsy on the girl's body Saturday to determine the cause of death, officials said.
Neighbors and relatives said Destiny was a student at the Academy for Scholarship and Entrepreneurship, a high school in Wakefield. Her birthday is next week, they added. She divided time between her mother, who lives in the North Bronx, and her father, who lives on Spofford Avenue, several blocks from the building where Destiny was found.
Destiny’s mother is “devastated,” said Jackie Mendoza, a cousin of Destiny’s mother.
Destiny’s aunt lived on the top floor of the three-story brick apartment building on Barretto Street, according to neighbors and relatives. The second floor of the building is currently vacant and young people sometimes gather there, neighbors said.
“There’s a lot of people hanging out — but just as kids, not in a menacing way,” said one man who lives across the street from the building and declined to give his name.
Destiny had a large, tight-knit extended family, said Jackie Mendoza, a cousin of Destiny’s mother.
“She was real close to her family,” Mendoza said. “She was a baby. She was beautiful. She didn’t deserve this.”
A neighbor, who said she saw Destiny recently, said she was a friendly and composed girl.
“She was a beautiful girl. She had a head on her shoulders,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used. “She dressed so stylish — not like a teenager, more like a model.”
When L asked what Destiny would like to be when she grew up, she said a lawyer.
“I said, ‘You’re going to be somebody,’” the neighbor said. “She had that look about her.”
But now, Destiny and her dreams are gone, she said.
“Her whole future lost,” she said, “just like that.”