The girlfriend of a Staten Island man stabbed to death in 2000, his body stuffed in a crawlspace and left undiscovered for over a decade, has never gotten over the teenage romance — and now has fresh hope the cold case will finally be solved.
Last month, the NYPD released a photo of 19-year-old victim John “Spone” Taylor and asked the public’s help finally figuring out who stabbed him in the chest more than two decades ago. His skeletal remains were finally discovered when the crawlspace was flooded by a hurricane.
Eurydice Williams, now a 41-year-old nurse who lives in New Jersey, met Taylor and became his girlfriend when she was a senior at a Staten Island high school. Taylor was a year older than her and had already graduated, searching for his purpose in life.
“I loved him with all my heart,” Williams told the Daily News Sunday. “I haven’t met anyone who compared to him 20 years later. He was a special person — and I am not just saying that.”
On Jan. 4, 2000, Williams, then 18, and Taylor were watching TV at an older friend’s apartment on Broad St. near Wright St. in Clifton.
“That was the last time I saw him,” Williams told the Daily News. “Once I left him I never saw him again. I never heard from him again.”
Taylor had been fighting with his parents at a point in his life where he wanted more independence, Williams said. He had decided to spend a few days at the friend’s apartment instead of heading back to his family home in Stapleton.
Williams tried calling her boyfriend that night at the friend’s apartment and then again the next day. When she and other friends couldn’t get in touch with him she went back to the apartment, rattled by the out-of-character behavior.
“The house was a mess,” she said. It was more than a mess. There was blood everywhere.”
“I called the police, I made the report,” Williams added. “I told the police everything I knew.”
Williams recalled a lackluster investigation by police, who she claims responded to the apartment but left when the tenant said nothing was wrong.
“I don’t know if he was afraid to let them in,” Williams said of the friend. “I didn’t understand how he couldn’t know what happened. I just didn’t trust him. I didn’t know what to think.”
Paul Fichera, the former owner of the building where Taylor was last seen alive, told The News Sunday he never had a reason to check the basement or the crawl space.
“I think there was a waste line down there just in case the water came into the basement,” Fichera said. “I never even opened that floor to find out.”
Over 11 years later, after Hurricane Irene pummeled the East Coast in August 2011, the basement flooded.
Giuseppe Lafata, who had then owned the building for about a year, was pumping water from the basement on Sept. 1, 2011, when his flashlight hit a skull and four leg bones.
“He called me and said, ‘Paul, Paul I found something down there. Like a body or something,’” Fichera recalled. “So that’s what opened up the can of worms there.”
Lafata called the police and responding detectives found John Taylor’s ID with the skeleton in the 3-foot-high crawlspace. The city Medical Examiner ruled Taylor’s death a homicide, finding the remains had a stab wound to the chest, police said.
“He was a good person, sweet and giving,” his girlfriend recalled. “He loved to make people laugh.”
Williams described the young man as “the love of her life” and denied he was involved in any drug activity, which the Staten Island Advance reported in 2011 may have been a motive in the slaying.
At the time, the address —which sits directly next door to the FDNY Engine Co. 153 firehouse — was a known drug spot, with police surmising the killing may have been over a dealer’s missing stash, which was once hidden in the same crawl space Taylor’s skeleton was found in, the Advance reported in 2011.
“Whatever happened to him, he didn’t deserve it,” Williams said. “It just wasn’t right.”