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Police Questioning Gregory Velez In Murder Of East Harlem Grandmother

Sources told CBS 2 that Gregory Velez is known to the family.
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Gregory Velez (credit: NYPD)

Gregory Velez (credit: NYPD)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police say they are questioning a man wanted for the murder of an East Harlem grandmother.

Gregory Velez, 35, was taken into custody and is being questioned regarding Tuesday’s killing of 73-year-old Julia Hernandez. She was found tied up with a bag over her head and was possibly suffocated inside her Wagner Houses apartment on East 120th Street around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday by her daughter Jeanette Hernandez , police said.

“Just seeing my mother lying there helpless, trying to think what was her last thoughts,” the victim’s daughter, Jeanette, told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano. “I know she had to have been afraid, but I hope whatever happened, happened quickly and she didn’t suffer much.”

julia hernandez Police Questioning Gregory Velez In Murder Of East Harlem Grandmother

Julia Hernandez (credit: CBS 2)

Family members believe Hernandez was killed possibly over a flat screen TV and jewelry, items they claim are missing. Sources told CBS 2 that Velez is known to the family, has a drug record and may have stolen the victim’s TV to buy more drugs.

“I was just horrified to see her lying there, her face wrapped,” said Jeanette. “They had suffocated her and she was tied up.”

Julia Hernandez seemed worried on the phone just hours before her killing, according to Jeanette.

“She had called me and told me that someone in the building told her there was a suspicious character in the building,” she said.

When she went to check on her mom, that’s when Jeanette says she found her lifeless body.

“I told her be careful. That was the last time I spoke to her,” said Jeanette.

“Whoever killed her, you’re going to get it and we’re going to find you,” vowed her other daughter, Elaine.

Julia Hernandez was a grandmother of four and mother of two.

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