Harlem boy’s killer was mom’s boyfriend with prior history of violent acts: NYPD

The arrested criminal handcuffed
Photo via Getty Images

Police sources said a 10-year-old Harlem boy died Saturday at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, who brutally beat the life out of him inside the youngster’s apartment and then called 911 to seek aid. 

Ryan Cato, 34, was booked Sunday night for murder and child endangerment charges for the March 6 death of Ayden Wolfe, 10, inside their residence within the St. Nicholas Houses public housing complex on West 131st Street.

Cato and Wolfe’s mother were initially taken into police custody for questioning after officers from the 32nd Precinct and NYPD PSA 6 responded to a 911 call at the home just after 2:20 p.m. on March 6.

Police sources did not disclose a possible motive for the heinous attack. 

Wolfe was found by officers unconscious and unresponsive, with what police described as “multiple traumatic injuries” to his body, including numerous cuts and bruises. EMS units rushed him to Harlem Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The New York Daily News reported Monday that Wolfe had suffered lacerated organs as well as fractured ribs and bruising between his toes.

NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison told reporters on Monday that Wolfe’s mother has not been interviewed by the investigators yet. Cato had reported the boy’s condition to the NYPD.

Cato has three prior arrests, including one instance in Brooklyn where he assaulted the mother of his children in front of them, according to Harrison. An Administration Children’s Services case was opened against him.

The additional arrests were complaints of assault against Cato.

The victim’s mother has one ACS case against her dating back to 2010, police said.. According to Harrison, Wolfe was an only child and no other children in the apartment at the time when the deadly blow had been struck.

Harrison says the 32nd Precinct Detective Squad is still investigating exactly when the fatal attack on the child occurred.

The ACS declined to provide specifics about any prior cases of child abuse involving Cato or Wolfe, noting that it is “prohibited by law” from disclosing such information publicly.

“The safety and well-being of New York City’s children is our top priority. We are investigating this case with the NYPD,” an ACS spokesperson told amNewYork Metro.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect new information from the NYPD which identified Cato as the boyfriend of Wolfe’s mother. Initial reports from law enforcement sources had identified Cato as the victim’s stepfather.

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