A 15-year-old neighbor broke into the Florida apartment of a 19-year-old Park Ridge woman who used to work at a popular Ridgewood bakery, stabbed her in the chest and watched her dial 911 before dying, authorities said.
D’Marcus Tucker awoke Nicole “Nikki” Franco as she lay in her bed the night of June 3 after entering through a sliding glass door, then stabbed the aspiring chef several times with one of her own knives, Broward Sheriff’s detectives said.
After watching her dial for help from the doorway, he left with her wallet — which he later threw into a nearby lake, they said.
Tucker, who lived with his mother next door to Franco in their gated community, was being charged with murder.
“Nikki was a 19-year-old girl, just starting her adult life,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said. “The murderer was a stranger to Nikki.”
Police found Tucker in a juvenile detention center, where he was being held on a probation violation — and had given a DNA sample.
It matched DNA from skin cells found on Franco’s comforter.
Detectives also found a knife with blood on it in a stairwell outside Tucker’s mother’s apartment, authorities said.
Steve and Teri Franco attended today’s news conference in Fort Lauderdale announcing the arrest of their daughter’s accused killer.
.”This day is bittersweet for our family,” Teri Franco said. “Sweet because we found the person who did this to our baby, and bitter because Nikki is still gone forever.” READ MORE….
A 2012 Park Ridge High School graduate, the upbeat Franco studied baking and pastry at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and exchanged tender messages on social networks with her parents and siblings in North Jersey. She worked at the Boca Raton Resort and Club as a pastry chef.
“This tragedy is already being felt in Park Ridge, which is a tight-knit community,” Park Ridge police Capt. Joseph Rampolla said in a statement earlier this year. “We will assist the Broward Sheriff’s Office in any way we can, if needed, to help bring the responsible parties to justice.”
“Carlo’s Bakery is shocked to hear of the death of Nicole Franco,” the bakery said in a statement. “Nikki was an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the Carlo’s Bakery family and she will be surely missed.”
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