COPING WITH TRAGEDY

Amalgamated is rocked by finding of homicide in death of two toddlers

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As news about the death of two toddlers rocked his community, Charles Zsebedics knew there was more to the story — and it would be unpleasant.

Those suspicions were confirmed last week when the death of Olivia Gee, 2, and Micah Gee, 3, were ruled a homicide by the medical examiner’s office.

“Personally I didn’t want to think the worst of it,” said Zsebedics, the general manager of Amalgamated Housing. “Although the question was always there, because it doesn’t make sense how two children just die suddenly at the same time within minutes apart.”

During the early morning hours of July 10, Jade Spencer called 911 after discovering her two young children were struggling to breathe. When first responders arrived at their home at 98 Van Cortlandt Park S., shortly after, both toddlers had lost consciousness. 

The siblings died just minutes apart after being rushed to Montefiore Medical Center. While early reports seemed to suggest the severe asthma both suffered from could have played a role, the chief medical examiner determined that both died from “blunt impact injuries” found on the torsos of Olivia and Micah. 

This is the first homicide case for the 50th Precinct this year, and while the investigation is ongoing, no arrests have been made as of Tuesday.

Zsebedics has been the general manager of the Amalgamated co-op for the past six years, and has never encountered a tragedy like this. He knows the children’s grandmother, Doris Spencer, particularly well, as she has served as the education director for both the Amalgamated and Park Reservoir communities. 

He met Jade Spencer and her two children several times when they would visit their grandmother, and although he did not know her as well as Doris, Zsevedics described Jade as a “very, very sweet girl.”

Since the deaths, the co-op community created a memorial outside of the Gees’ apartment building. There mourners have shared balloons, teddy bears, flowers, photos of Olivia and Micah, and cards blessing the family. Amalgamated already has put out two condolence books as well for neighbors to leave messages.

“Everyone wants to express in their own personal way their deep sorrow and condolences to the family,” Zsebedics said. “We have to wait to hear what the family wants and needs from us.”

The Amalgamated is the oldest limited equity housing co-op in the country, with 1,500 apartments and a waiting list as long as eight years to buy. Those who apply for residence must undergo a thorough background and credit check, including a home visit, before being allowed to join.

Many community members are moderate-income families, Zsebedics said. The familial atmosphere in the neighborhood is something that makes this tragedy all the more shocking.

“Nobody knows what to say anymore,” Zsebedics said. “Regardless of how justice is being determined, it still never brings back the life of these two children.”

Suzanne Sulzbach has been a longtime member of the community — her mother has lived in the neighborhood for the past two decades. Although Sulzbach was shocked by what happened to Olivia and Micah Gee,  she still believes Amalgamated is a safe place to live.

“You just never know who your neighbors are,” she said. “You have to hope for the best.”

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Michael

Apples seldom fall far from trees. Some land directly beneath and remain in the shade until they rot.

Right after the double homicides were announced, the Board of Directors of both the Amalgamated and Park Reservoir distributed a thinly veiled gag order/flier to Shareholders urging people not to speculate on the who the what the why the where the when and the how of the brutal and savage murders of two innocent little children Olivia and Micah. "While the matter is under investigation we urge all cooperators to refrain from speculation and spreading unconfirmed rumors. Painful as it may be, we must await the conclusions drawn by the proper authorities". SAY WHAT???!!! This was distributed to Shareholders on 7/13/2017 after the Medical Examiner announced Olivia and Micah were beaten to death. They don't want people to talk to spare the fragile feelings of family members who undoubtedly knew Novell Jordan and exactly what Jade was capable of doing. From what I understand, Doris is in the office every day...to make sure nobody is talking.

I am sure the Spencer Family is grieving. After all, how could they know two little babies were being abused right under their noses. Unfortunately, no one is grieving more than Greg Gee - the father of Olivia and Micah. Jade was the gatekeeper of her children's safety and well being. Her family members lived within close proximity of her apartment. There are video cameras in the front of the building, in the elevators, in the hallways, in the basement. Nobody ever saw Novell Jordan before? If Jade were overwhelmed help was just a phone call away. Doris Spencer called herself a "Jack of All Trades" and "Master of Quite a Few" in one of the Coop videos. According to Doris Spencer, "the Coop has ways of finding things out". How convenient that the Coop kept everyone under surveillance except Jade Spencer and her live in boyfriend Novell Jordan - the alleged Bloods Gang member. My instinct is telling me Novell didn't kill the children. A Nurse Practitioner would never allow anyone to smoke in her home if her children were severely asthmatic. Jade Spencer obviously didn't care. Its like all of the flowers planted around the Coop. The outside looks pretty while the inside is falling apart.

A lot of information was leaked to the press. Some of that information may not even be true. First, Mr. Jordan was described as someone with 4 previous arrests (two were sealed and two were for fireworks and a machete - never convictions) and then he was an alleged "Bloods Gang" member. Only one news story ran Jade Spencer's criminal record which included an arrest for a vehicular matter (DUI/DWI perhaps?) but not much else was mentioned about Jade Spencer EXCEPT for the fact that she may or may not have had a prescription for Lithium. Information leaked as described sounds like pure propaganda and/or a set up for an insanity defense. I could be wrong. Not everyone loves Doris Spencer and her daughters as much as the Management Office claims. Matter of fact, Jade and Samantha were known as Doris "goon squad" when they were in High School and early college. She would dispatch her daughters to retrieve fliers of dissent distributed to Shareholders doors. Jade and Samantha would throw the fliers out before Shareholders had a chance to read them. If Doris Spencer is the "soul" of the Coop, we're all going to hell. Something isn't right here and now we're all being forced and dragged into a horrible set of circumstances because of dysfunctional and abusive parenting. Perhaps even generations of abusive parenting. Who the hell beats two toddlers to death? Every person I have spoken to is traumatized buy the death of two sweet innocent children who were BEATEN to death. Let me repeat myself for the people in the cheap seats who haven't grasped the enormity of what happened: EVERYONE WHO RESIDES IN THE AMALGAMATED IS TRAUMATIZED BY WHAT HAPPENED TO MICAH AND OLIVIA. Sadly, they are the only two people at peace. Rightfully so. Poor little babies, sweet little angels.

I wouldn't be surprised if someone has already organized a fund raiser to gather the retainer fee for Jade Spencer's defense counsel. A fundraiser was organized for the father of the murdered children. You can find that here: https://www.gofundme.com/MicahandOliviaGee

According to news outlets, the NYPD also suggested a third party may be involved. Do the Shareholders of the Amalgamated have a serial killer on our hands? Is there a serial killer running amuck beating toddlers to death and dumping bodies of residents on the Golf Course after they overdose on "medication"? We're only going to be still and silent about the murder of two innocent babies in an Amalgamated apartment for so long. We want JUSTICE for Olivia and Micah. You can feel sorry for the Spencer Family if that is what is most important to you. Keep in mind, a father lost his only children and must now live with the fact that their mother and her family failed to protect them from the horrors of child abuse. I hope Mr. Gee has a strong support system. He will certainly remain in our prayers.

#NoJusticeNoPeace #BlackLivesMatter

Monday, July 24