(NY DAILY NEWS) – A Bronx father’s heart was left as broken as his slain 10-year-old son’s body.
Devastated dad Darnell Wolfe, 34, told the Daily News in an exclusive interview that he blames the boy’s mother along with accused killer Ryan Cato for the savage two-day stomping that left a helpless Ayden Wolfe mortally wounded inside his Harlem apartment.
Prosecutors filled in the heinous details at a Manhattan arraignment where Cato, 34, was ordered held without bail on charges of murder and endangering the welfare of a child.
Last Friday, a neighbor in the St. Nicholas Houses heard a series of loud bangs and thuds coming from the apartment for a full 40 minutes, court papers say.
“Do you want me to beat your a– too?” the neighbor heard a man screaming, according to prosecutors. A woman believed to be Ayden’s mom could be heard pleading, “Stop,” while Ayden could be heard faintly moaning.
Cops responded Friday to a 911 caller who heard the commotion — but couldn’t determine which apartment on the fourth floor the noise was coming from, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea revealed Tuesday. The NYPD is reviewing whether proper procedures were followed — and if those guidelines should be changed.
The violence continued Saturday, with the neighbor reporting a man’s screaming voice again coming from the home.
“You thought yesterday was something?” he howled. “You think this s— is a game?” Ayden could again be heard softly moaning, according to court papers.
But Cato called 911 about 2:20 p.m. Saturday after the boy became unresponsive, authorities said. Ayden was soaking wet in the bathtub from a failed attempt to revive him when first responders arrived. Medics rushed the boy to Harlem Hospital where he died two hours later.
Cato was taken into custody at the home and charged with murder the next day. The boy’s 32-year-old mother was taken in for questioning but has not been charged.
Assistant District Attorney Nicole Blumberg recounted the grim litany of abuse inflicted on little Ayden, recalled by his dad as an aspiring artist with a big heart and an inquisitive mind.
Ayden also suffered a lacerated spleen, lacerated liver, lacerated kidney and a lacerated renal vein, with the cause of death list as “battered child syndrome,” said Blumberg.
The boy’s alleged killer was sporting a swollen right hand when arrested, she added — but he insisted Ayden’s injuries happened outside the home. Cato’s explanation of his injured hand was inconsistent, with the suspect claiming the swelling was work-related, prosecutors said.
But a check of video surveillance indicated the 10-year-old never left the building on the day of his death.
The father only learned about the death through calls from friends extending their condolences after they heard about the heartbreaking case in the news.
“It blew my mind,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe says he last spoke with the mother in June after she moved to the NYCHA apartment. The couple was engaged before his fiancée disappeared with their son, and now Wolfe has nothing left but memories.
“He touched a lot of people,” said Wolfe of little Ayden. “He touched everyone. When we talked, it was amazing. He would ask a lot of questions. He was so curious.”
The father was instead left looking for answers in the shocking death of his boy, including whether his ex-love would face charges in the death.
Wolfe never met his son’s alleged killer, who has a prior arrest from three months ago for allegedly choking the mother of his 6-year-old autistic son as the child watched inside their Williamsburg, Brooklyn, home.
After an order of protection barred him from contact with the mother of his child, he went to live with Ayden’s mother, according to authorities.
Cato was also arrested in Brooklyn last month for assaulting a yellow school bus driver during a brief two-week stint as a paraprofessional health aide, according to authorities.
“We have no clue,” Wolfe said of the boy’s alleged killer. “I’m very unsettled about that. I’m outraged. … What I need right now is justice for my son. My son needs justice.”