Man arrested in 1994 strangulation deaths of a NYC mother, daughter

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HARLEM, N.Y. (WPIX) — Police arrested a 64-year-old man on Monday, decades after a mother and her daughter were strangled to death inside a Harlem apartment. 

Larry Atkinson was arrested on murder charges in connection with the 1994 deaths of Sarah Roberts, 57, and Sharon Roberts, 27, officials said. The arrest was made using DNA evidence.

The women were found unconscious and unresponsive inside the bedroom of the apartment on Feb. 20, 1994, police said. The Medical Examiner’s office determined they’d both been strangled. 

Sharon Roberts (PIX11 Archives)

A home attendant found their bodies, WPIX reported in 1994. The door was unlocked when the attendant arrived, and there were no signs of forced entry.

The mother suffered from emphysema, police said at the time. The daughter had a woolen stocking wrapped around her neck when her body was found.

Atkinson had been dating the home attendant who found the bodies, sources told WPIX. The home attendant was not considered a suspect at the time and was cleared.

Decades later, cold case detectives once again ran DNA found at the crime scene through national databases and determined it was a match to Atkinson.

Atkinson is an ex-convict with 13 prior arrests. He was convicted five times and served time under different aliases, according to state records.

He had been living at a home in Manhattan, New York, where he was arrested Monday. He told police he wasn’t feeling well and was taken to a hospital after his arrest.

Atkinson is charged with two counts of murder and will be arraigned as soon as medically possible.

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