GLENS FALLS — A woman and her young daughter were brutally killed in their home early Friday, and a former boyfriend of the woman was charged with murder hours later for their deaths.
The mother and child, identified in court papers as Crystal Riley, 33, and Lilly Frasier, 4, were apparently stabbed to death. Authorities said Lilly was attacked after she came to her mother’s aid when hearing her screams.
The suspect, Bryan M. Redden, 21, of Glens Falls, was taken into custody around noon when he was spotted driving the victim’s gold Toyota sport-utility vehicle on Bay Street in Glens Falls, police said.
He was charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder and was sent to Warren County Jail without bail late Friday after arraignment before Judge Nikki Moreschi. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
Redden is due back in City Court on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., but acting Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone told the judge that the case would be presented to a Warren County grand jury Tuesday morning, which would render that hearing moot if he is indicted.
Carusone would not discuss details of the killings after the hearing, saying the investigation was ongoing.
“Any time a child dies, it is a tragedy,” Carusone said.
Redden would not comment as he left court. He spoke in court only to say he was “homeless.”
First-degree murder alleges a person killed multiple victims, and it is punishable by life in prison without parole.
Redden and Riley had a recent relationship, but no possible motive was disclosed as the investigation continued.
Warren County Public Defender Marcy Flores was appointed to represent him, and she said she had no comment on the case Friday night.
Police acknowledged an arrest had been made but said the investigation was continuing late Friday.
Glens Falls Police Chief Tony Lydon said the suspect was located in the victim’s vehicle, and did not try to flee police when the SUV was spotted.
Lydon would not say if he was cooperative, but law enforcement sources said he consented to being questioned.
Redden listed a Glens Falls address as his last residence, but the chief said police do not believe he is a native of the area. His social media accounts indicate he went to high school in West Virginia.
The arrest came after a massive police investigation that began when Riley and her daughter were found dead Friday morning in an apartment at 148 South St., at the corner of South and Murray streets. Police have not said when they were killed.
Lydon said Riley’s mother went to the home to check on her and found both victims deceased around 10:30 a.m.
Lydon said it was unclear how long they had been dead.
A former boyfriend of the woman who police were seeking Friday morning came to the home shortly after noon, and left with investigators. Police said he was initially the focus of the search, but was cleared of any involvement after the SUV was located with Redden in it.
Investigators from Glens Falls Police, State Police and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office spent much of the morning going door-to-door in the neighborhood near Glens Falls Hospital, talking to residents about what they may have seen or heard in recent days.
Police put out a radio bulletin alerting other agencies that they were looking for the victim’s gold Toyota Highlander sport-utility vehicle in connection with a “homicide.”
Crime scene tape surrounded the apartment building on the corner of South and Murray streets as police investigated the scene, with a block of the busy street closed into the evening.
According to a next-door neighbor, a woman was heard screaming at the home around 9:30 to 9:45 a.m. Friday. She believed that was around the time the victims’ relative went to the home and found the bodies, with police arriving moments later.
“I was sleeping and all of the sudden I could hear a woman screaming,” neighbor Kim Harchar said.
The gray two-story duplex is not known as a trouble spot to neighbors, but one neighbor said police were there about two weeks ago to arrest a man. Police said later that the matter was not at that home, and was not related to the homicides.
Neighbors said Riley and her daughter had lived in the front apartment in the building for about eight years. The two apartments in the building both have first-floor and second-floor rooms.
Viola Wells, who had lived in the building for a decade or so before moving out recently, was near tears as she went to the home Friday morning after hearing about the crime. Many other residents of the neighborhood came by the home as well, shocked at the terrible tragedy.
Wells said Riley had two older sons who did not live in the home, but lived with their father. The two boys had lived in the apartment with their mother for years, she said.
Wells said Riley had worked at a local day care center, and was a good mother. She had also worked as a yoga instructor.
“She was such a sweetheart. She got along with everyone,” Wells said. “This is so shocking. It’s just so, so sad.”
Wells said Lilly frequently came to her apartment for lollipops.
“She was such a beautiful child,” she said.
“It’s an awful waste of a wonderful person and a baby,” said former neighbor Dick Wells, Viola’s husband.
Neighbor Cassidy Lewis said the woman and her children were always pleasant and were good neighbors.
“She seemed like a really nice person,” Lewis said.
Wells said Riley had a boyfriend who stayed there frequently, and she never saw or heard any trouble at their apartment. Wells moved out a few months ago when the building was sold.
Another neighbor, Charity Steans, said she frequently saw the woman and child coming and going from the home. She said she had not seen the gold vehicle that was used by the woman at the home for several days, but hadn’t noticed anything unusual otherwise.
“It’s quiet over there,” she said. They (the victims) lived there for a while. I’d always see them going in and out.”
It has been a deadly week in the region, as this homicide case is the third in a matter of days in Warren and Saratoga counties. A man was killed in Mechanicville on Monday and two men died in a murder-suicide in Johnsburg on Wednesday.