ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A man was arrested and charged a day after the bodies of a mother and her young daughter were found inside their Englewood, N.J. apartment.
Michael C. Brady, 34, of Teaneck, was charged in the murders of Tammy Pitts-Gaddy, 40, and her 5-year-old daughter, Natasia. Their bodies were discovered inside their home on West Palisade Avenue on Tuesday.
Brady was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and third-degree hindering apprehension, authorities said.
He is being held at the Bergen County Jail and bail has been set at $2 million.
Family members discovered their bodies around noon Tuesday. Gaddy was found stabbed multiple times in a first-floor bedroom, police said.
Her daughter was found in the basement.
Gaddy and Brady had been dating for three years, according to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. He is not the father of Natasia.
Authorities allege Brady and Gaddy had a fight Monday and Brady stabbed Gaddy, prosecutors said.
It is believed her daughter Natasia witnessed the stabbing and Brady smothered her to death by holding a plastic bag over her head, prosecutors said.
He then fled the residence.
After being confronted by some of Gaddy’s relatives as to her whereabouts, he later returned to Gaddy’s home and pretended he was the one who discovered the bodies, authorities said.
“It broke my heart,” said Gaddy’s father James Pitts.
“It’s horrifying, it’s shocking,” said family friend Tanisha Pugh. “I’m still numb. It’s unexplainable, it really is.”
Molinelli and Englewood police said the victims may have been dead in their home since sometime Monday but weren’t discovered until about 24 hours later when family members forced their way in.
Family and friends said Gaddy worked with children as a school aid and loved her daughter dearly.
“Every time you see one, you see the other,” Pugh said. “They didn’t deserve that at all. They didn’t deserve that.”
Natasia attended elementary school in Englewood. The superintendent of school has scheduled grief counselors and has sent letters home to parents.