Washington Heights & Inwood

Crime & Mayhem

Boyfriend Charged in Dumbbell Murder of Washington Heights Woman, NYPD Says

October 25, 2017 6:05pm | Updated October 25, 2017 6:05pm
A woman was fatally stabbed by her long-time boyfriend inside her Washington Heights apartment on Dongan Street Tuesday, police sources said.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The boyfriend of an Upper Manhattan woman who was beaten with a dumbbell and stabbed to death has been charged with her murder, the NYPD said Wednesday.

Police found Claudina Cruz, 63, covered in blood in her apartment at 25 Dongan Place about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday with the help of the victim’s concerned sister.

Cruz had spoken with her sister about 6 p.m. Monday, according to the building's superintendent, Victor Ramirez. When her sister called back Tuesday morning, Cruz didn’t answer and the sister began to worry, Ramirez said.

A friend asked the super to check in on Cruz, but he didn’t have an extra set of keys, so they called the police.

“The police knocked on the door for like 20 minutes," Ramirez said. "I told them to go to the fire escape and go to the window.”

Inside the fifth-floor apartment, police found blood throughout the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, the super said. 

“As soon as I opened the door I could see the blood,” said Ramirez, who saw the room Wednesday. “There’s a lot of blood from the bedroom to the kitchen. You can see a man’s footprints on the blood.”

Cruz had multiple stab wounds to her torso and bruises on her head, while her boyfriend, Julian Perez, 60, had stab wounds on each wrist that were likely self-inflicted, according to the NYPD.

Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene, while Perez was transported to Columbia Presbyterian hospital.

Officers recovered the dumbbells and a knife from the scene, a law-enforcement source said.

Perez was charged with murder Wednesday, according to the NYPD.

The couple, who had no children, had lived at the Dongan Place apartment for more than 13 years and did not have a history of fighting, Ramirez said.

“The man seemed like a nice guy, he always said, 'Good morning' when he saw me," the super said. "He wasn’t a drinker. I thought nothing [was] off about him. “