News

Detective Lieutenant Kevin Smith of the Nassau County Police Department's Public Information Office reports the details of a homicide that occurred Thursday, March 19 in New Cassel.

Third Precinct officers responded to a domestic disturbance 911 at a Grand Boulevard home and, upon arrival, discovered 24-year-old Joanna Bird dead in her upstairs apartment. Preliminary investigation revealed the cause of death to be multiple stab wounds.

On March 20, police arrested Bird's former boyfriend, 23-year-old Leonardo Valdez-Cruz of Westbury in connection with the murder. The subject was apprehended at 8:15 p.m. in Manhattan by members of the Nassau County Police Department's Narcotics Bureau and charged with second degree murder. Valdez-Cruz was arraigned beside in the psychiatric ward at Nassau University Medical Center, where he has been hospitalized since his arrest.

Bird, who is reported to have two young children who were not home at the time of the murder, has been in the news before. Earlier this year, The Westbury Times reported Valdez-Cruz was arrested for allegedly breaking into Bird's home, kidnapping her and threatening her with a gun, despite a "stay away" order. He was charged with kidnapping - 2nd degree; robbery - 1st degree; criminal use of a firearm - 1st degree; burglary - 2nd degree; criminal possession of a weapon - 2nd degree and aggravated criminal contempt in connection to the January incident.

According to Eric Phillips, spokesperson for the Nassau County District Attorney's office, Valdez-Cruz was released from jail "about a month ago because of evidentiary reasons. The victim refused to cooperate and because of that, the case required further investigation."


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