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Arrest in murder of Long Island mom

November 22, 2010 1:10:01 PM PST
As first reported on Eyewitness News at 11, police made an arrest in the murder of a young mother found stabbed to death. The suspect, 23-year-old Leonardo Valdez-Cruz of Westbury, was arrested in Manhattan on Friday night. He'll be arraigned Saturday in First District Court in Hempstead.

Officers from the Nassau County Police narcotics bureau made the arrest on Amsterdam Avenue near 170th Street at 8:15 p.m.

The victim, 24-year-old Joanna Bird, was found stabbed to death on Thursday in her New Cassel home on Grand Boulevard.

Her two young children were not home at the time.

Valdez-Cruz was Bird's former boyfriend, police said.

A spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorney's office says Valdez-Cruz previously served several months in jail after being convicted in September of violating a court order of protection.

The victim's uncle said, "the system failed her." He said the suspect "was just locked up a little over a month ago for kidnapping her, strangling her and trying to throw her in the trunk of a car. He put a gun to her head...and they let him out."

Eyewitness News was also told by her relatives that Bird had a restraining order.

"Cops came here before for him...they came and took him and then a couple of weeks later he back around her," Bird's neighbor said.

Valdez-Cruz was charged with second degree murder. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Saturday.


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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