Suspect in fatal Bronx hammer beating found dead

June 27, 2013 11:26:39 AM PDT
Police say a man wanted for questioning in the fatal beating of his mother in the Bronx was found dead in a nearby motel, an apparent suicide.

39-year old John Rodriguez was found in the Friendly Motor Inn at 1119 E Gun Hill Road Wednesday afternoon with his wrists slashed.

Motel workers found him in his room after he failed to check out.

Rodriguez was wanted for questioning the death of his 64 year old mother, Magda Dagostino.

She was discovered dead on her bed inside her Perry Avenue apartment the night before.

Detectives believe she was beaten to death with a hammer, which was discovered near her body.

NYPD officers making a wellness check, climbed through a window and found the lifeless body of the victim and a hammer nearby.

"I wouldn't want anything like that to happen to anybody, especially to your own mother. It's crazy," neighbor Jose Reyes said.

Reyes and others who live in this Norwood apartment building are shocked that a neighbor has apparently been murdered.

Eyewitness News has learned the victim was discovered in her bed, pillows covering her face.

"They find the body of a 64-year old woman who appears to be assaulted, with trauma to the head and body," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly explained.

Police say relatives had not been able to reach her in the past couple of days and asked officers to make a wellness check that led to the shocking discovery.

"I'm stunned. She must have been dead a few days," Helen Ginty, a friend, said.

Ginty has known the victim for years, but had not seen her recently.

"Very nice. Quiet. Shopped in the neighborhood. Nothing fancy about her. Just an ordinary New Yorker. I can't believe this," she said.

"She lived there with her son. We have not been able to contact her son as yet. So we are attempting to do just that," Commissioner Kelly said.

Neighbor Jose Reyes hasn't seen him.

"Now that you don't see her son for four days, you know it makes you think," Reyes said.

Coincidentally, the apartment building where Dagostino was killed is also the home of a man charged in an unrelated homicide at 1010 Hoe Avenue in the Bronx.

34 year old Jason Tomczyk was arrested Wednesday in the fatal shooting of 23 year old Johnson Sanchez on Hoe Avenue.

Authorities say Sanchez was killed by Tomczyk in an attempted robbery.