Suspect in NYC slaying arrested in Maine accused of smothering girl with pillow

Posted May 17, 2013, at 3:15 p.m.
Christian Ferdinand was arrested on Monday at Loring Job Corps Center in Limestone in connection with the murder of 14-year-old Shaniesha Forbes in Brooklyn earlier this year.
Courtesy of Aroostook County Sheriff's Office
Christian Ferdinand was arrested on Monday at Loring Job Corps Center in Limestone in connection with the murder of 14-year-old Shaniesha Forbes in Brooklyn earlier this year.

LIMESTONE, Maine — The suspect arrested in northern Maine earlier this week in connection with the homicide of a New York City teenager is accused of suffocating the girl with a pillow, according to court documents.

Christian Ferdinand, 20, was in court for his initial arraignment Thursday in a Brooklyn courtroom.

A student at the Loring Job Corps Center, Ferdinand was formally charged with second degree murder in connection with the death of Shaniesha Forbes, 14, during the hearing in Brooklyn Criminal Court, according to the criminal complaint.

According to the Brooklyn court documents, NYPD Detective James McCafferty with the Brooklyn South Homicide squad said Ferdinand murdered Forbes at some time between midnight Jan. 4 and 7:15 a.m. Jan. 6 at 2668 Nostrand Ave. in New York City.

According to the complaint emailed to the Bangor Daily News on Friday which included information obtained from witnesses and from the defendant, Ferdinand “placed a pillow over the face of Shaniesha Forbes, and kept it down until [she] stopped moving and that later the defendant removed the body of [Forbes] to the beach and burned it.”

The partially burned body of the 14-year-old was discovered at Gerritson Beach in Brooklyn on the morning of Jan. 6.

On Friday a spokesperson with NYPD’s public information office said in an email the department can’t comment on the open investigation.

Ferdinand did not enter a plea at his initial arraignment and was remanded without bail to a New York state correctional facility, according to a spokesman with the Brooklyn district attorney’s public information office.

Ferdinand was arrested in Limestone Monday after being questioned by detectives with the Maine State Police and New York Police Department.

He waived extradition at a hearing Tuesday morning and was transported back to Brooklyn later that day by the New York detectives.

The New York and Maine detectives were assisted this week by officers with the Limestone Police Department.

On Thursday Limestone Police Chief Stacey Mahan released a statement confirming his department had been assisting with the investigation of Ferdinand since March.

On Thursday Harold Crawford, a community advocate with 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, told the Bangor Daily News Forbes met Ferdinand through a social media website and the two had been in a relationship kept secret from her family.

Requests to speak with Loring Job Corps staff and students were denied by Jobs Corps Region One, which oversees centers in New England, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Job Corps Region One did respond with a brief statement by email stating, “Our condolences are extended to the family of the young woman and Job Corps is cooperating fully with authorities.”

The New York Post reported that he had suffocated the young girl in his apartment, where he allegedly kept the body for several days before taking it and setting it on fire in Brooklyn.

On Thursday Crawford said the case underscores the dangers facing young people on social media websites.

“We are hoping these young people get the message to please not keep things secret [and] anytime someone on a social media site tells you to keep secrets, that’s when it’s time to cut it off,” Crawford said.

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