A 14-year-old was arrested and charged in the rape and murder of an 83-year-old woman who died Aug. 30, Baltimore Police announced at a press conference Friday.
Tyrone Harvin was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape, and various sexual offenses in the death of Dorothy Mae Neal, said police spokesman T.J. Smith. She was found unresponsive at her home in the 2300 block of Winchester Street on Aug. 29. She died the next day at University of Maryland Hospital. Police said Neal died of blunt force trauma and was raped in the attack.
Harvin's mother, who only gave a first name of Rhonda, was visibly shaken and didn't want to talk on camera. Rhonda told WMAR 2 News "It’s just crazy, I can’t do it, why would they say that, it’s just crazy, I can’t do it y’all, I’m going through so much, I just wish the best for my son, I just want him home."
Harvins's stepfather Mike said "That’s my stepson, and I love him dearly, and for him to go down for a murder charge that I don’t believe he had anything to do with, it’s shocking."
“It’s sad all the way around because there’s some systematic failure in a 14 year old's life to allow us to be up here talking about him being accused of murder and rape," Smith said. "A 70-year difference between the victim and the suspect in this is really something unheard of."
Smith said police thought the suspect might be young, but not as young as Harvin. Smith said he thought it was a typo when he say the charging documents. Smith confirmed Harvin is the youngest person charged with murder in Baltimore this year, and he is likely the youngest to face such charges in several years.
"It’s pretty easy to surmise that something critical in his poor 14 years of life, something happened," Smith said. "This is not normal."
Police linked Harvin to the crime based on evidence found at the scene. Neal relied on neighbors for assistance. It was those neighbors who called police to check on Neal after she was not seen for several days. Police believe Harvin, who lived in the 2400 block of Winchester Street, may have been part of that network of people who occasionally helped. Smith said there were no signs of forced entry at the crime scene.
In Maryland, 14 is the youngest a suspect can be to be charged as an adult for a murder, rape, or sexual offense, Smith said. Harvin had just turned 14 in August, Smith said.
Harvin's family maintains his innocence.
"It’s shocking, because I’ve known Tyron for six years, and out of all the things Tyrone do in life, I can’t see Tyron killing no lady, not no old lady. I couldn't see him raping nobody," Harvin's stepfather Mike said.
"He’s only 14, 14 years old. I think that’s really disturbing to me, for them to charge a 14-year-old for something that he didn't do," Harvin's mother said.