EAST HARLEM, Manhattan - A mother and father are speaking out about an unthinkable tragedy after their daughter was stabbed dozens of times, put in a garbage bag and set on fire in East Harlem.
A suspect is under arrest, but the the victim's family is reeling.
"I said wait a minute, that was my daughter on fire today?" Estalita Edwards said tearfully. "He told me yes. He told me that she got stabbed, that somebody stabbed her and set her on fire."
The grief-stricken mother described the moment she learned her beautiful daughter Shantee Nakhid, just 24, had been brutally murdered.
Police said she was stabbed more than 30 times in a building at the Clinton Houses in East Harlem, than dragged across East 105th Street to another building and set on fire in a ninth floor stairwell.
Authorities have charged 27-year-old Nelson Quinones in the savage crime, and he remains hospitalized after apparently trying to kill himself. Edwards said she doesn't believe her daughter knew her alleged killer.
"I've spoken to several of her friends, my family members," she said. "Nobody knows him."
Edwards said she is speaking out less than a week after the murder because she wants the world to know the young woman they loved, the mother of a 10-month-old son and a nursing student.
"She was a beautiful girl," she said. "Smart, outgoing. She loved music."
And even as they wrestle with pain of their loss, they are demanding justice.
"I think he should be executed, to tell you the truth," dad Lawrence Sayle said. "Or just rot in jail for the rest of his life."