'They used to hear her scream'

Posted: July 03, 2014

TIA RAMOS used to have nightmares about the little old woman in Feltonville.

Andrea Carrasquillo, 83, lived with her son, William, in a stuffy rowhouse that never welcomed visitors, its secrets hidden behind dusty shades that perpetually covered the windows.

"I would have dreams about him killing her," Ramos, 52, said through a Spanish interpreter. "I begged [William] to let her come live with me. He said no."

Ramos, whose daughter is married to William Carrasquillo's son, said she hadn't seen the elderly woman since a family picnic in 2012.

Early yesterday, Ramos said, Carrasquillo called her daughter, Cynthia, and blurted out some disturbing news. "He said he did something really bad," Ramos said.

Police officers and firefighters forced their way into the Carrasquillos' house on Lee Street near Wingohocking about 9 a.m.

They found Andrea Carrasquillo dead in the basement, her nude body stuffed into a square, white freezer.

William Carrasquillo, 58, wasn't there when cops made the grim discovery.

As of last night, his whereabouts were unknown.

Police spokesman Lt. John Stanford said a warrant had not been issued for Carrasquillo's arrest.

The Medical Examiner's Office now must determine how and when Carrasquillo's mother died. That process could take some time; Stanford noted that the elderly woman's body has to thaw.

Ramos said Carrasquillo told her daughter that his mother had "died instantly" from a fall in January, and that he had "made a big mistake."

There was sadness - but little shock - in the faces of neighbors who watched as ribbons of yellow crime-scene tape danced in the wind in front of Carrasquillo's home yesterday afternoon.

Some had long felt uneasy about what went on inside the old, redbrick rowhouse, which butts up against a partially collapsed wooden fence.

The first-floor windows were adorned with a blue-and-white handicapped-parking placard, a seal for a home-security company and black security grates.

"Their next-door neighbors used to hear her scream," said Linda Tabarez, 33, whose parents live across from Carrasquillo, on nearby Front Street.

"He told them she had schizophrenia, so they left it alone," she said of Carasquillo. "He never let her outside. I was scared of him when I was a little kid . . . there was just something about him that was weird."

Tabarez's father, Nelson Tabarez, said he only spoke to Carrasquillo in passing, just your average, run-of-the-mill daily greeting.

"Years ago, he used to take his mother to dinner in South Philly," said Tabarez, 63.

"I think he worked at a pizzeria. The quietest people always surprise you."

Ramos said she and other relatives were forbidden by Carrasquillo from entering the house when they tried to visit his mother.

"We had to sit across the street," she said through an interpreter. "He would say, 'No! She's too sick to see anyone!' "

Others recently noticed a bizarre change in Carrasquillo's behavior.

Vanessa Festevole, 22, said she spotted Carrasquillo sitting in front of his house over the weekend, offering to sell his belongings to his neighbors.

She said he offered to sell her his brown Geo Prizm for $500.

"He seemed calm, but something was off," Festevole said. "Someone asked him where he was going, and he just said, 'I have to go away.' "

- Staff writer Morgan Zalot contributed to this report.

Another Feltonville horror: The exploding food truck.


On Twitter: @dgambacorta

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