Three of the four teens suspected in a deadly carjacking. (New Orleans Police)
NEW ORLEANS - Police in New Orleans said they have arrested four teenagers suspected of carjacking a 73-year-old woman and dragging her to death.
Authorities said the incident happened Monday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. in the 300 block of North Scott Street.
Officers said when they arrived, they located the victim, Linda Frickey, on the ground unresponsive "suffering from her arm being dismembered from her body." Frickey was pronounced dead on the scene.
At a news conference Tuesday, Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said Frickey became entangled in her seatbelt during the carjacking, which led to her being dragged from the vehicle. Ferguson said her arm was eventually severed from the body.
Ferguson said four teens have been arrested in connection to the case: a 17-year-old male, a 16-year-old female and two 15-year-old females. Their names haven’t been released, but they will be charged with second-degree murder, according to Ferguson.
Police also said that they were able to catch the suspects after they released photos and the parents of two of the supsects notified law enforcement.
"The parents of one 15-year-old female immediately called our investigators and turned their daughter in," Ferguson said, adding that the parents of another suspect followed with more information that led to an arrest.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision on behalf of these parents," Ferguson said.
No word yet if the suspects will be charged as adults.
"That's a conversation that my team will have with the district attorney's office," Ferguson said at a Tuesday morning news conference. "I would say absolutely, I encourage, I will ask, that they be charged as adults. ... I mean, look at the nature of the crime."
Witnesses spoke to local reporters about the brutal crime.
"I heard screaming, like ‘you're-going-to-die’ screaming," Austin Northcott told WWL-TV. "Just not a normal scream."
"It was the most grotesque, surreal, horrific thing I’ve ever seen. Complete reckless abandonment. No regard for human life," Todd Ecker also told the outlet.
"The door had closed on the seatbelt, but she was stuck in it," he also told WVUE-TV on Monday. "I got out of my vehicle, screaming for them, ‘Please stop, you’re dragging a lady.' Other neighbors were also screaming at them."
A tearful Leanne Mascar and her husband Mark Mascar tried to comfort the victim as she died at the scene.
"I was telling this woman to hang in there," Mark Mascar told the TV station. "Every time I heard a siren, I was hoping and praying that was an ambulance."
According to WWL, police later found the woman’s car abandoned about 15 blocks away, on the corner of Dumaine and North Dupre streets in the Bayou St. John neighborhood.
"What occurred to 73-year-old Linda Frickey was heinous and unthinkable," Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams said in a statement to FOX Television Stations. "I can’t help, but think of my own mother and other elders in our community. While we will allow the NOPD to complete a thorough investigation, any and all persons that the evidence shows participated in the murder of this elder will be prosecuted to the absolute fullest extent of the law."
Monday afternoon's gruesome carjacking death came hours after police reported a triple-homicide in another part of the city. Police said three people were found dead in an apartment in the Gentilly neighborhood. The victims, two men and a woman, had all been shot. No suspects have been identified and police were asking for the public's help for information on the shootings.
New Orleans' homicide total for the year rose to 61 with the four deaths. The nonprofit watchdog group, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, said that as of Sunday, homicides in the city were up 43% over the year before and 97% compared with 2019.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.