Lila Ramsaran, 69, was found stabbed to death in her Bronx apartment on Cranford Ave. in Wakefield on Sunday.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, October 10, 2016, 12:31 PM
The killer of an elderly woman found riddled with stab wounds in the Bronx tried to torch her home to cover the crime, sources said.
With Lila Ramsaran’s body still in the house on Cranford Ave. near Hill Ave. in Wakefield at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, her killer turned on the gas on the stove, tampered with the gas line and lit candles, sources said.
Someone smelled gas seeping from the home and called 911. Cops then found Ramsaran, 69, who’d been repeatedly stabbed.
Firefighters doused the candles and cut off the gas before the house could blow, sources said.
Neighbors said they didn’t hear any screams or sounds of a struggle coming from the home.
“It looked to me like an inside job,” neighbor Leslie Garden said. “There were no signs of forced entry. It’s a shame. She was a great lady.”
The retired watch company employee was planning on selling the Bronx house and returning to her native Trinidad to live in her second home there, neighbors and sources said.
Detectives are looking into whether that intention to sell may have been a factor in her murder.
“She wanted to go back,” said friend Liz Martinez, 67. “I don’t know who would want to hurt her like this.”
She was never the same after her only son died in a motorcycle accident 10 years ago, Martinez added.
“Her hair went gray from one day to another. She was a nice lady. She was classy,” she said. “We used to talk over the fence. This is a shock.”
Just hours before Ramsaran was found, a neighbor saw the victim at home cleaning.
“She’s very nice to everyone, very quiet – she doesn’t bother anyone,” said the neighbor, who declined to give his name.
Neighbors look on as police investigate the scene of a fatal stabbing on Cranford Ave. in the Bronx on Sunday.
(Gardiner Anderson/for New York Daily News)
Her relatives told police they didn’t know about any problems she was having, sources said.
Ramsaran’s distraught niece, who declined to give her name, said her aunt complained Saturday about not feeling well.
Her family wanted her to leave the house and go to church Sunday.
“We were calling her today to go to church and there was no answer,” the niece said Sunday night.
“I felt like something was wrong because it’s not like her to not answer the phone.”
One of the tenants called Ramsaran’s family to complain about an odor of gas in the home.
Relatives came over and happened upon the shocking scene.
“We were not expecting to find out anything like this,” the niece said.
Ramsaran grew up in Trinidad but moved to the U.S. about 40 years ago, her niece said.
She returned to Trinidad, but would come back to the Bronx every few months, to check on the place.
“She was upbeat and independent. She did everything for herself. She was very giving and loving towards everybody,” the niece said.
“If you needed something and she had it she would give it to you no questions asked. We don’t know why anyone would do this to her. We are very confused right now.”