By Tommy Hallissey
A 54-year-old lifelong Riverdalian was found murdered in her bathtub with a knife still in her chest in the early morning hours of May 1 inside a Skyview apartment.
Police say Anthony Silva, 51, allegedly stabbed Linda Jimenez once in her chest and left her body in the bathroom while he lit fires inside her apartment, where he was renting a room.
Fiftieth Precinct officers were called to the scene, at 5900 Arlington Ave., after neighbors reported that items - including chairs and a table - were being thrown off a balcony on the 11th floor.
At around 3 a.m., May 1, the Five-O's Emergency Services Unit burst into apartment 11V after seeing smoke and found Mr. Silva setting papers on fire in the kitchen. Mr. Silva, who police described as emotionally disturbed, was detained as officers searched the apartment.
They then found Ms. Jimenez, fully clothed, face up, lying in the bathtub. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The city Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Ms. Jimenez's death a homicide.
A police source said the pair had a verbal dispute over money. Times had been tight. In December, Skyview took Ms. Jimenez to court over non-payment of rent, according to a state database of court records.
Mr. Silva was questioned for several hours before police arrested him later that afternoon and charged him with homicide. He faces charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon.
As of press time, Mr. Silva had not been arraigned on any of the charges. The Bronx District Attorney's Office said he was in the hospital. But Melvin Hernandez, a spokesman for the DA, said he expected Mr. Silva to be formally charged soon, possibly even a bedside arraignment on May 8.
"It was an isolated unfortunate incident behind closed doors," was how Capt. John D'Adamo, the commanding officer of the 50th Precinct, put it.
Neighbors outside the building on May 1 were taken aback at the gravity of the crime. "It never happens here," said Jillian Medina. "We are all in shock."
Ms. Jimenez's godfather, Dan Shea, bristled at reports his niece was involved with the man who rented a room in her apartment for the last eight years.
Neighbors spoke of fights often, but Edna, who lives on the ninth floor and would only give her first name, said May 1 was different. She heard "horrifying screams" coming from the 11th floor between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. She said the screams stopped and started again several times throughout the night, but she never called police. Mr. Shea also said he wished he had called police in the days before Ms. Jimenez's tragic death. He spoke to his niece, who called from a shopping center pay phone, on the night of her murder. "There didn't seem to be anything wrong," he said on Monday.
Mr. Shea described Mr. Silva as a big man who didn't know his own strength. "This guy was not acting right - he was talking to himself loud," Mr. Shea said. "I should have done something."
The DA's office wouldn't say if Mr. Silva was in psychiatric care or not, but Mr. Shea claims there was a pattern of abuse. "She told me he tried to bully her in her own home," he said.
Mr. Shea, who lives in Riverdale, visited Ms. Jimenez frequently. "She had such a wonderful sense of humor. She would get along with anybody," he said. Ms. Jimenez lived locally her whole life, working for Kingsdale Car Service, the Riverdale YM-YWHA and the Fieldston Lodge Nursing Home. Connie Tallier worked with Ms. Jimenez at the Y. "She was a sweet, soft-spoken girl," said Ms. Tallier. "It's a heartbreaking way to go. She didn't deserve that."
The soft-spoken girl once had big dreams, too. She did stints in television after graduating from the now defunct Center for the Media Arts with a degree in television production.
Ultimately, Ms. Jimenez decided to care for her mother, who died of cancer. "She had some hard luck after her mother passed away," said Ms. Tallier.
Mr. Shea chose to remember the good times with his goddaughter - like dancing at An Beal Bocht on West 238th Street. "She was a hell of a person. She loved people," he said. "I never thought anything like this could happen."