Advertisement

Unsolved murders of NYC grandma, neighbor killed on same day getting a fresh look by investigators

NYPD Detective Marisol Bonilla, right, hangs up flyers at the Bushwick Houses on Wednesday, February 21, 2024 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City; inset upper right, ana delvalle smiling and looking at the camera; inset lower left, basil gray, in glasses and hat
NYPD Detective Marisol Bonilla, right, hangs up flyers at the Bushwick Houses on Wednesday, February 21, 2024 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City; inset upper right, ana delvalle smiling and looking at the camera; inset lower left, basil gray, in glasses and hat

NYPD detectives are trying to revive the investigation into the unsolved murders of a Bushwick grandmother and her fifth-floor neighbor killed on the same day six years ago — hoping time may have loosened the grip on the neighborhood’s code of silence and that new suspects can be identified.

Ana Delvalle, 62, and Basil Gray, 54, lived across the hall from each other at 140 Moore St. in the drug-riddled Bushwick Houses – where they were both known to call cops if they saw dealing or other crimes.

Both were killed on the morning of Friday, May 11, 2018, and the bizarre mystery still haunts family and neighbors, who were likely too scared to talk at the time because of possible retaliation.

Detectives Marisol Bonilla and Armando Saitta are working on the 2018 unsolved double murder case of Ana Devalle, 62, and Basil Gray, 54, at the Bushwick Houses. Michael Nagle for NY Post
Detectives Marisol Bonilla and Armando Saitta are working on the 2018 unsolved double murder case of Ana Devalle, 62, and Basil Gray, 54, at the Bushwick Houses. Michael Nagle for NY Post

“People living in that area are always afraid to talk,” Detective Marisol Bonilla told The Post. “You have to go back home to the same people who you’re snitching and ratting out.”

Bonilla, of the NYPD’s 90th Precinct in Williamsburg, and Brooklyn North Homicide Squad Detective Armando Saitta are hoping enough time has gone by for people to have gotten over the fear.

“There may be people from the neighborhood who are not there anymore so maybe they will be a little more forthcoming now,” Bonilla said. “That’s our hope.”

The two veteran gumshoes have been interviewing everyone, including family members of the victims, reviewing the evidence and rehanging posters offering $20,000 from the city and $50,000 from the FBI for information that finally leads to an arrest.

The feds got involved in the investigation in 2018 because of the drug dealing that went on in the development and possible gang involvement, cops said.

Detectives Marisol Bonilla and Armando Saitta have taken over the Bushwick Houses double murder case. Michael Nagle for NY Post
Detectives Marisol Bonilla and Armando Saitta have taken over the Bushwick Houses double murder case. Michael Nagle for NY Post
NYPD Detective Marisol Bonilla was seen hanging up flyers at the Bushwick Houses on February 21, 2024. Michael Nagle for NY Post
NYPD Detective Marisol Bonilla was seen hanging up flyers at the Bushwick Houses on February 21, 2024. Michael Nagle for NY Post

“So basically, what [we] are trying to do is pretty much start over and with fresh eyes, fresh ears,” Saitta said.

Delvalle was a single mother-of-three from Honduras who retired from her job as a seamstress and loved cooking large meals like arroz con pollo for her 45-year-old daughter, Mireya, and her twin brother, the daughter said.

Mireya recalls discovering her mom’s body around 10 a.m. after returning home with flowers, two days before Mother’s Day.

Ana Delvalle, 62, was shot to death on the morning of May 11, 2018, after being tied up inside her apartment, police said. FBI
Ana Delvalle, 62, was shot to death on the morning of May 11, 2018, after being tied up inside her apartment, police said. FBI

“I saw her on the floor,” she said. ”I threw my stuff down. I thought she fell and hit her head. There was blood around her head. It was so surreal. At that point, I grabbed her and noticed the hole by her ear.”

Her hands were tied behind her with the cord to a massager that she often used to ease her back pain. She was shot three times.

Cops found casings of two different calibers on the scene, a 9mm and a .380, suggesting multiple shooters.

Basil Gray, 54, was shot to death in his apartment the same day his neighbor was shot –and with the same gun, cops said. FBI
Basil Gray, 54, was shot to death in his apartment the same day his neighbor was shot –and with the same gun, cops said. FBI

Across the hall, Gray was already dead with multiple bullet wounds to his body, but he lived alone and wasn’t discovered for two days.

Police believe he was killed first and that Delvalle may have looked out into the hallway that she often mopped when she heard shots between 9:30 and 10 a.m., a police source said.

“I think they were at Basil’s door first and she either popped out or her door was open,” the source said.

The Bushwick Houses are a sprawling public housing development in Brooklyn. Michael Nagle for NY Post
The Bushwick Houses are a sprawling public housing development in Brooklyn. Michael Nagle for NY Post

“I think she came upon something she wasn’t supposed to see and then they tied her up,” the source said. “They were maybe thinking about letting her live. And then for some reason they decided not to.”

They were both shot by a 9mm slug from the same gun, cops said. There was a blood stain on Basil’s door and a trail that extended from there to the center of his living room, where his body was found, cops said.

Cops believe he managed to get back inside and his door locked behind him.

Family at the wake for Ana Devalle, 62, whose murder remains unsolved six years later. Paul Martinka
Family at the wake for Ana Devalle, 62, whose murder remains unsolved six years later. Paul Martinka

At the time, investigators looked at grainy video of people coming and going from the eight-story building but weren’t able identify a suspect.

Gray was seen on video that morning walking into the building seemingly relaxed with a cup of bodega coffee in his hand. The cup was later found, three-quarters full, on his nightstand.

Both Delvalle and Gray were known to police their building, often calling 911 to report problems when they saw them.

Ana Devalle was found inside apartment 5C at 140 Moore Street bound and shot to death on May 11.
Ana Devalle was found inside apartment 5C at 140 Moore Street bound and shot to death on May 11.

“You couldn’t go down the stairs without seeing people doing drugs,” Mireya said. “People would be playing dice. I’m not sure if someone heard she was calling cops or maybe they were looking for someone else and she came out at the wrong time.”

But detectives don’t believe calls to 911 were the motive.

“There were just so many apartments surrounding the area to pinpoint that these two are the ones calling 911 would have been pretty difficult,” Bonilla said.

Police investigating after the 2018 double murder in the Bushwick Houses. Robert Mecea
Police investigating after the 2018 double murder in the Bushwick Houses. Robert Mecea

Gray’s friend became worried when she did not hear from him for three days, and used a spare key to enter the apartment, where she discovered his body.

After the murders, police received a cell phone video from a tipster who asked to remain anonymous showing two men and a woman outside the victims’ apartments, cops said.

But the video is poor quality, and it apparently failed to generate any suspects, cops said.

After the murders, police received a cell phone video from a tipster who asked to remain anonymous showing two men and a woman outside the victims’ apartments, cops said. Michael Nagle for NY Post
After the murders, police received a cell phone video from a tipster who asked to remain anonymous showing two men and a woman outside the victims’ apartments, cops said. Michael Nagle for NY Post
Saitta and Bonilla do not believe the 2018 killings are random, they told The Post. Michael Nagle for NY Post
Saitta and Bonilla do not believe the 2018 killings are random, they told The Post. Michael Nagle for NY Post

“We do believe there was an intent,” said Detective Stephen Minucci, one of the original detectives on the case. “There was something that was being looked for, or someone.”

Bonilla and Saitta have gone back several times in the past few months to hang posters asking for tips and offering a $70,000 reward for information — despite having it torn down repeatedly, suggesting that the code of silence prevails.

“We want to show them that we’re going to go out there in full force again and again and again and make sure that people know that we’re still involved in this and we want to get the people responsible,” Saitta said.

The heartbroken daughter said holidays, especially Mother’s Day, are the hardest time of the year.

“We’re hoping it doesn’t take much longer,” she said. “As the years go by, these people are still out there and my mom is no longer here.”