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N.J. boy's cousin charged in fatal stabbing

Undated photo of ten-year-old Anthony Maldonado was stabbed

Undated photo of ten-year-old Anthony Maldonado was stabbed to death early Saturday morning while he was visiting his uncle at the Grant Housing Project in Morningside Heights. Credit: 1010Wins

The adult cousin of a 10-year-old New Jersey boy was charged Saturday in the boy's fatal stabbing in the man's apartment in Manhattan, police said.

Police arrested Alejandro Morales, 25, of Morningside Heights, and charged him with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. The boy, Anthony Maldonado, of Palisades Park, N.J., was stabbed several times in his upper torso at the Grant Houses, police said.

Anthony then knocked on his uncle's bedroom door and collapsed, police said.

The uncle called 911. Police arrived at 3:35 a.m., found Anthony with stab wounds and summoned Emergency Medical Services.

EMS workers took the critically injured child to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, police said. Anthony was pronounced dead at 4:19 a.m.

Police said the boy was staying with his uncle and aunt over the holidays. But in an interview with The Star-Ledger in Newark, Anthony's mother, Dolores Juela, said the boy's uncle was renting a room in the apartment from a woman who lived there with her three sons, ages 17, 20 and 24.

Juela told The Star-Ledger that her son was playing a video game with the three sons when the younger two left to get food.

"This bad man stabbed my son. I don't know why," Juela told the newspaper. "Why didn't he attack another man? Why a boy? He couldn't even defend himself."

The city medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the child's cause of death.

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