Police officers put their life on the line every day to protect complete strangers. However, having to see so much death and destruction each and every day is arguably the hardest part of the job.
After a while, cops get used to dealing with disturbing and violent crimes. So when police officers in Staten Island saw what happened inside a local hotel room on the morning of February 10, 2016, they were horrified but they got on with the job they had to do. However, first responders were left speechless when they saw who the only survivor was…
The Morning Of Feb. 10
At around 10 a.m. on February 10, 2016, a housekeeper at the Staten Island Ramada Inn, which was being used to house the homeless during the winter, was making her rounds around the hotel cleaning the guests’ rooms as she did every day.
When the housekeeper approached the door to the room that was being used by a mother and her three young daughters, she knocked as she always did. When no one called back, she assumed no one was in and opened the door to start cleaning…
However, when the housekeeper opened the door to the hotel room, she discovered the horrific reason no one was able to answer the door. Rebecca Cutler, the 26-year-old homeless mother of 3, was lying dead on the floor. She had been stabbed and her blood was everywhere.
It was clear that Rebecca was dead, but the housekeeper immediately called 911 when she discovered Rebecca’s daughters, 2-year-old Miracle Cutler, 1-year-old Ziana Cutler, and 4-month-old Maliyah Sykes, were also in the room and covered in blood…
Hoping For A Miracle
Maliyah had been stabbed 9 times, Zalia had been stabbed 7 times, and Miracle had been stabbed 11 times. But the girls were still alive, so first responders rushed them to the emergency room in hopes that doctors would be able to save them.
Tragically, Zalia and Maliyah passed away from their stab wounds and the police were more motivated than ever to get to the bottom of what happened inside the Ramada Inn hotel room and find the monster that would hurt 3 little girls and their mother…
Retracing Her Steps
During the investigation, police tried to retrace Rebecca’s steps that day and discovered surveillance footage that showed she had taken her daughters to a nearby deli for breakfast with her boyfriend, who police identified as 25-year-old Michael Sykes.
Who Is Michael Sykes?
Sykes was dating Rebecca and was the father to 4-month-old Maliyah. Sykes had been working at a Duane Reade store since 2013 and had no previous criminal convictions. He lived in Brownsville, Brooklyn but made the trip to Staten Island almost every day to spend time with Rebecca and the girls…
Security footage from the Ramada Inn showed Sykes returned to the hotel with Rebecca and her daughters just before 8 a.m., however, Skyes didn’t immediately enter the room with Rebecca and the kids. Instead, security cameras caught him waiting outside.
The Prime Suspect
Just before 9 a.m., Sykes finally entered the hotel room. Soon after, cameras caught him fleeing from the room. No one knows exactly what went on inside the room, but when he left, Rebecca was dead and her daughters were barely alive…
It was clear to detectives that Sykes had something to do with the murders and they went on the hunt to find their prime suspect, who had gone missing. After fleeing the scene of the crime, Sykes went to the homes of two friends in Brooklyn and then rode on the subway for days.
Charged With Murder
3 days after the murders, police caught Sykes when he returned to a friend’s house. Once in police custody, Sykes was charged with the murder of Rebecca and 2 of her daughter. 4-year-old Miracle had lived up to her name and survived being stabbed 11 times…
After 9 days at Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton, Miracle was released into the care of Rebecca’s family, who were grateful Miracle was alive but they were struggling to figure out how they would be able to care for a 4-year-old. Knowing the family was having a tough time, the local Police Department and the Staten Island community came together to help make sure they had everything they needed.
“We received so many donations from people who want to help. There has been an outpouring of support,” said Miracle’s cousin, Michelle Mathis. Police officers from all over the city came together to bring the family clothes, toys, and other items Miracle might need. “The NYPD Community Affairs and the officers, they were phenomenal with us. They helped us, transferred us back and forth to the hospital. The love was exceptional — I don’t even have words…”
Miracle was doing remarkably well after the traumatic experience, however, when her aunt, Anjeny Cutler, told Miracle that her mother and her 2 little sisters had passed away, she was devastated. “I want to go to heaven house,” Miracle told her aunt.
The Trial Begins
On October 10, 2017, the trial began where Sykes faced life in prison if found guilty for the murder of his girlfriend and her two daughters. During the trial, prosecutors argued that Sykes went on a murderous rampage when he found out that Rebecca was cheating on him…
Sykes defense admitted that Sykes killed Rebecca, but argued that he only did it to stop Rebecca after she stabbed her own children. The defense argued that Rebecca had a history of bipolar disorder and postpartum depression, which made her violent at times. Sykes claimed he tried to break up with Rebecca, but when he said he still wanted to be a father to the girls, she stabbed the girls.
A witness testified that the knife used to stab Rebecca 60 times belonged to her. Sykes had stayed at her home the night before the murders and it had been missing ever since. Sykes, on the other hand, testified that Rebecca had the knife in her room and pulled it out of a drawer. When the murder weapon was tested for DNA, only Sykes’ and Rebecca’s blood was detected. However, a DNA expert explained that it didn’t prove anything about the order of the attack…
After 4 days of deliberations, the jury found Sykes guilty of the robbery and grand larceny charges brought against him for stealing Rebecca’s cell phone before the murder. They also found him guilty of second-degree murder of Rebecca Cutler. However, they could not reach a decision on the multiple counts of murder, attempted murder, and assault that had to do with the children. Justice Mario F. Mattei sentenced Sykes to 25 years to life for second-degree murder, and to 16 months to 4 years for grand larceny. “Your actions were brutal … and uncaring,” said Mattei.“You straddled her upper torso and plunged the knife into her.”
A Year Later
Rebecca’s family was disappointed her children hadn’t gotten justice but are grateful Miracle is doing better than ever. A year after Miracle almost lost her life, her family brought her in to visit the police officers that helped save her life.”She’s in good spirits,” Michelle Mathis, said. “She’s playing, she’s laughing. She’s our little miracle.”