Two years after the gruesome stabbing death of an elderly couple returning to their Brooklyn home, police are again seeking witnesses and information to help find the killer, officials say.
The couple, Hazel Brown, 59, and her husband Stephenson Bonaparte, 65, of Winthrop Street in Prospect Lefferts Gardens were found stabbed to death at 6:41 p.m. on the evening of Feb. 7, 2018. Bonaparte was found near the entrance to the home at 263 Winthrop Street while his wife was found already inside the vestibule of the three-story home. Both were unconscious — the husband dead at the scene, and the wife died at Kings County Hospital. Both were stabbed repeatedly, their throats also slashed.
Officials say that the couple died after they returned from a day of work at their religious goods store.
The murder on that rainy night remains a mystery to this day, with police from the 71st Precinct now reaching out to the public with new video in an effort to identify the killer.
From the video, the killer who appears to be a male black, is apparently wearing a white sweatshirt and possibly a mask. He seems to be using an umbrella in the video. He is later seen in what appears to be a Toyota Camry leaving the scene.
Bonaparte and Brown apparently lived at the home with their daughter and grandchildren. After the murder, the daughter moved out of the home and returned to their native Trinidad and Tobago and never spoke about the murder. Property belonging to the couple lay in boxes outside the home for months before being thrown away.
The house has since been sold and rehabilitated according to residents on the street.
Friends of the couple had gathered at the store that they ran, King Solomon Religious Goods at 1083 Rutland Road, was very popular with local residents, selling candles, incense and other religious items. After the couple’s death, the daughter kept the store open, allowing a man and a woman to run it in their stead. Numerous efforts to reach out to the family were unsuccessful.
One man who worked in the store at the time and didn’t want to be identified said he couldn’t understand who would want to hurt the couple.
“I just don’t understand who would do such a thing – everyone loved them,” he said at the time. Police are still seeking a motive for what was viewed as a ‘targeted murder.’
The store has since been closed. It is now the Israel Spiritual Store, similar to the store that previously existed.
The current owner ran the previous store. He said he’s heard nothing in a year about the murder since detectives visited them. He said the family disappeared and hadn’t been heard from in more than a year.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.