Law enforcement sources revealed on Thursday that a teenager who was stabbed and set ablaze in the Bronx had recently been dating his alleged killer’s younger sister, 14. Sources told the New York Post that 22-year-old Adones Betances was enraged by the age gap between Winston Ortiz, 18, and his sister, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Betances, who lives about five blocks from his alleged victim, is accused of stabbing Ortiz thrice, dousing him with gasoline, and setting him on fire. The alleged attack took place Wednesday afternoon on the fifth floor of a Highbridge building near their homes.
According to sources, Betances entered the building just 10 minutes prior to Ortiz in the premeditated attack. 17-year-old Wilmer, Ortiz’s younger brother, spoke to reporters outside the family’s apartment Thursday night. “I still can’t believe it. What goes through your mind to do something like that?” he said, before confirming his brother had been dating the suspect’s younger sister. However, Wilmer noted she had ended it with Winston on Wednesday.
“I’m pretty sure this all had to do with a breakup that he had been dealing with yesterday,” he continued. “This is [his ex-girlfriend’s] older brother we’re talking about.”
Wilmer said he couldn’t remember why they broke it off, but that it was “something about him being too overprotective,” adding, “but I don’t know what that means.” He said his brother had been “very emotionally distraught” over the split.
At around 3 pm Wednesday, neighbors were alerted by the teenager’s screams and rushed to douse the flames with buckets of water. Ortiz was reportedly stabbed twice in the back, once in the chest, and suffered third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body. His aunt shared a heartbreaking message on her Facebook on August 12 night, announcing the tragic death of her nephew, who was a student at the Metropolitan Lifehouse Charter School.
“Today we found out our oldest nephew was brutally murdered in NY,” she wrote. “He fought hard for his life until he could no longer fight and passed away this evening. I am begging all of my friends to share our GoFundMe as no parent should outlive their child let alone worry about how to pay for funeral arrangements. My heart is so broken into pieces and beyond consoling.”
Speaking to the Post, one woman who witnessed Ortiz in flames and poured water over him said the incident had shaken her up. “I stepped outside. I saw flames,” said the 34-year-old woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I thought the apartment was on fire. And when I go over there, I saw a guy in flames all over his body. I got very scared because I have my girls here. It’s really concerning.”
According to sources, the dying 18-year-old revealed his alleged killer when police officers responded to the scene. They also said Betances casually took his girlfriend out on a date after the gruesome attack. “No amount of criminal punishment will make up for the fact that he took a life away,” Wilmer said. “I’m sad someone felt obligated to do this.”
Betances, who told police he was being framed, is currently remanded in custody on murder and manslaughter charges.