NEW YORK – A man accused of abducting his wife and four young children from a Massachusetts apartment where another woman was found fatally stabbed was arrested Wednesday by police, who said the siblings and their mother were in good health.
The family was found in Brooklyn, the New York Police Department said. State police in Massachusetts and New York had issued Amber Alerts for the children, who range in age from 11 months to 3 years.
In Massachusetts, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a news release that police arrested the father, Rodlyn Petitbois, without incident about 6 p.m. as he walked down a Brooklyn street, and that the children and their mother were found safe in a Brooklyn apartment.
Blodgett said earlier that his office was seeking an arrest warrant for Petitbois on a first-degree murder charge. Blodgett said before the arrest the authorities believed Petitbois to be extremely dangerous and possibly armed.
The last known addresses of Petitbois, 25, and the children's mother, Louna Eveillard, 26, had been in Brooklyn, and the New York State Police said earlier that the couple might have been sighted in the borough Wednesday afternoon.
Police in Lynn, Mass., about 15 miles north of Boston, went to the apartment there early Wednesday after receiving a report of a stabbing. They found Greenland Etienne, 33, with stab wounds to her face; she was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital.
Blodgett said authorities believe there was a "social" relationship between the abducted family and Etienne, but that link was still being investigated.
A man who said he witnessed the slaying told the Boston Herald that Eveillard had gone to her friend Etienne's apartment Tuesday night with her children seeking refuge from Petitbois. Sabinio Stpruex, who said he was a close friend of Etienne, told the newspaper that Petitbois showed up and tried to force Eveillard to leave with him. He said Petitbois stabbed Eveillard in the hand, then stabbed Etienne when she tried to call 911.
"She was trying to help Louna," Stpruex said.
A spokesman for the district attorney would not confirm the details of Stpruex's account, though authorities had said Eveillard might have a stab wound to her hand and could be wearing a bandage.
New York police said Eveillard has a hand injury they believe occurred during the Massachusetts incident but didn't know how she got it. By Wednesday evening she and her children were at a police precinct, and she was talking to investigators.
Authorities released surveillance photos showing the family entering the Haymarket and South Station transit stations in Boston on Wednesday morning. They said the search had expanded to the New York City metropolitan area Wednesday afternoon.
Blodgett said Petitbois and Eveillard came to the United States from Haiti in 1999 through New York. Petitbois did not have a criminal history in the Boston area, authorities said.
The children were identified as Ryan Petitbois, 3; Lyndsey Petitbois, 2; Lauren Petitbois, 22 months; and Roddick Petitbois, 11 months.
Authorities said they were not sure whether Petitbois and Eveillard lived together or what kind of custody arrangement they had for their children.
Petitbois was in New York police custody Wednesday night and was unavailable for comment.