The day before a 10-year-old boy named Ayden Wolfe was found beaten to death in his apartment in Harlem, someone called 911.
The caller reported hearing banging and screaming on the fourth floor in the St. Nicholas public-housing complex but did not say which apartment. Two officers arrived but could not hear anything, and when they called the number where the 911 call had come from, no one picked up.
After 12 minutes, they left.
The next day, Saturday, Ayden, a bright boy who a family member said hoped to become a professional YouTube gamer, was found naked and unconscious on the floor of his apartment, his body covered head to toe with bruises and cuts. His ribs were broken, prosecutors said. His spleen, liver and kidney were lacerated.
Medics could not revive him. His mother’s 34-year-old boyfriend, Ryan Cato, was arrested and charged with murder.
But the officers’ failure to find anything out on Friday — the official police account makes no mention of their even knocking on any of the eight apartment doors on the fourth floor — left the police commissioner, Dermot F. Shea, searching for an explanation.
“To be clear, the person allegedly responsible for Ayden Wolfe’s death is Ryan Cato,” Mr. Shea said in a statement on Tuesday. “Nonetheless, I have directed the Office of the Chief of Department to review the police response on Friday to determine if the officers’ actions were consistent with all department procedures and whether our current procedures need to be revised.”
The murder complaint filed by the Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday provided terrifying details on what the neighbors were hearing on Friday, the second-to-last day of Ayden’s life.
According to the complaint, a homicide detective spoke to someone who said that around 3 p.m. that day, they heard banging and thuds against the wall inside Ayden’s apartment, a man yelling, “Do you want me to beat your ass, too?” and a woman pleading “Stop.” The person also heard a soft voice moaning in pain, the complaint said. The banging and yelling lasted about 40 minutes.
On Saturday, the complaint says, at 11:45 a.m., the same person who had heard shouting and thuds on Friday heard banging and thuds again, heard the same man yelling, “You thought yesterday was something?” and asking, with a profanity, “You think this is a game?” The person heard, once again, a faint moaning.
Téa Kvetenadze contributed reporting.
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