14-year-old to be charged as ADULT for assault and murder of 83-year-old neighbor

Tyrone Harvin had only recently turned 14 and may have been part of a group of neighbors who regularly helped take care of 83-year-old Dorothy Mae Neal

14-year-old to be charged as ADULT for assault and murder of 83-year-old neighbor

A 14-year-old boy has been charged for the brutal rape and murder of an elderly 83-year-old woman. Baltimore police say that teenager Tyrone Harvin is responsible for the rape and death of Dorothy Mae Neal who was found unresponsive by authorities at her Rosemont Gardens apartment on the 2300 block of Winchester St. in West Baltimore on August 29. She was rushed to the University of Maryland Medical Center in her critical state but would succumb to her injuries the next day.

According to USA Today, the crime was discovered after concerned neighbors in the area alerted police to not having seen Neal for days. The 82-year-old was said to have been a familiar and well-liked figure in the area, and would often be seen walking with her cane to the bus stop.

Residents said she was "independent and trusting," with neighbor Eartha Davis telling the Baltimore Sun, "It’s sad when anyone dies, but she was an elderly woman. It's very scary. It's the first time I heard of anything so close."

Neal lived at the Rosemont Gardens Apartment in West Baltimore (Source: Google Maps)
Neal lived at the Rosemont Gardens Apartment in West Baltimore (Source: Google Maps)

The authorities initially went around the neighborhood passing around flyers, requesting anyone with information about the perpetrator to come forward. A $4,000 reward was also offered for any leads that could help the police capture the person responsible for the crime. It was initially suspected to have been a burglary gone wrong, though Harvin's apprehension proved that to be false.

Baltimore police spokesman TJ Smith announced that Harvin would be charged as an adult in accordance with Maryland law, though he conceded there was a process that would allow the 14-year-old to be treated as a juvenile as the case progresses. He also confessed that the age difference between the suspect and the victim was "really something unheard of."

14-year-old Tyrone Harvin (Source: Baltimore Police Department)
14-year-old Tyrone Harvin (Source: Baltimore Police Department)

Smith said that, during their police investigation, they came across certain clues — which have not been made available to the public —  that indicated the culprit was young but added, "I don't think any of us were thinking a 14-year-old would be capable of something like this."

He called the crime "sad and tragic," saying, "Every homicide is sad and tragic, but when we talk about our vulnerable victims, it just adds a level of tragedy to it. We’re talking about people sometimes who are completely defenseless."

USA Today reported that Harvin only recently turned 14 and that he may have been part of a group of neighbors who regularly helped take care of Neal as he lived on the same street. That line of reasoning may also explain why the police did not find any signs of forced entry at the 83-year-old's apartment. But physical evidence would eventually help the authorities link the crime to Harvin.

Harvin faces charges of first-degree murder and rape, and a preliminary hearing has been set for Wednesday, September 19.