Philadelphia police have arrested a man they believe strangled his girlfriend, stabbed her son to death and set their Wissinoming apartment on fire Saturday morning.
Criminal charges were pending against Carlos Rivera as the Northeast Times went to press. Capt. James Clark of the Homicide Unit previously described Rivera, 25, as a “strong person of interest” in the slayings and suspected arson. Rivera was also wanted for robbing the same girlfriend several months ago, Clark said during a news conference on Monday afternoon.
The murder victims were Atlanta Deveney, 35, of the 4600 block of Howell St., and her son, Elijah Rosado, 12. Police and firefighters arrived at the small apartment building at about 8:50 a.m. and saw flames in a first-floor rear unit. After firefighters extinguished the blaze, police found the two victims in a closet underneath a mattress.
Deveney had been choked and beaten to death, while Rosado had been stabbed multiple times in the chest and neck, Clark said. Neighbors told police they had heard a violent struggle shortly before the fire.
“They heard a female screaming, then they didn’t hear anything,” Clark said. “Then they smelled the smoke and the fire.”
Some bystanders tried to enter the building to put out the flames, but Rivera allegedly stood outside diverting them and stating, “I’ll handle it.”
“He was stating to them that he would put it out himself, which he never did,” Clark said.
Rivera soon disappeared.
The couple had a “longtime abusive relationship,” Clark said, although they had apparently reconciled long enough to move into the Howell Street apartment just three days earlier. ••