The Murder of Charles Garay

A Rotterdam NY minister, Dequan Greene, 29, was found guilty of killing Charles Garay, 4, who was a foster child that had been placed in his home. In addition, Garay’s 5-year-old brother, who was also placed in Greene’s home, was also severely abused.

The Foster Placement of Charlie Garay

In September 2020, the Albany County, NY Department of Social Services removed from the home of their biological parents 4-year-old Charlie Garay and his unnamed 5-year-old brother. They kept the reasons for the foster placement were kept confidential. Albany County D.S.S. had no open availability in a foster home within their county, so they placed the boys in an available foster home in Schenectady County. The home, at 2734 Broadway, Rotterdam, NY, belonged to Dequan and Latrisha Greene. They were parents of three female children under the age of 5-years-old. The Schenectady County Department of Social Services certified their house as a foster home.

The Day That Charlie Garay Died

On December 20, 2020, 911 Emergency Services received a telephone call from Latrisha Greene. Paramedics from the Mohawk Ambulance Service, Rotterdam, NY fire department personnel, and Rotterdam, NY police officers arrived on scene and found Dequan Greene attempting life-saving measures on an unconscious 4-year-old in severe distress. EMS took over immediate care of the child and transported the boy to Ellis Hospital, but extensive lifesaving attempts were unsuccessful. Ellis Hospital emergency staff pronounced Charlie Garay dead.

The emergency personnel noted various bruises all over Charlie. They also noticed similar bruises on another child, who was identified as the victim’s 5-year-old brother. EMS transported the unnamed to the hospital for any necessary treatment and evaluation. The child had bruises all over his body in various states of healing, including injuries to his face, along with a split lip and torn frenulum (the small connective tissue located under the tongue).

The emergency personnel noted various bruises all over Charlie. They also noticed similar bruises on another child, who was identified as the victim’s 5-year-old brother. EMS transported the unnamed to the hospital for any necessary treatment and evaluation. The child had bruises all over his body in various states of healing, including injuries to his face, along with a split lip and torn frenulum (the small connective tissue located under the tongue).

Charlie Garay’s Cause of Death

The medical examiner determined that Charlie’s cause of death was due to “extensive internal injury to his liver and intestines caused by blunt force trauma.” It was further described as the victim’s stomach being stomped on with considerable force. The medical examiner also noted the various bruises and wounds that Charlie had all over his body, which were described as being in various stages of healing. The most noticeable and easily seen were the bruises on his face.

The Investigation of Dequan and Latricia Greene

Detectives learned throughout the course of their investigation that the two boys had been foster children in the Greene’s home for approximately three months from their initial placement in September 2020 until December 20, 2022, the date of Charlie’s murder. They also learned that prior to the boys’ placement, the Greene’s had only had one other child placed with them but had been just one day, which was what was requested of them.

The Albany County D.S.S. normally conduct monthly checks on their foster placements, but during this specific timeframe, checks were done through video chat due to Covid 19 restrictions. Nothing was ever noted by the agency that there had been mistreatment of the boys during this time.

As the investigation moved forward, police discovered more information regarding the boys’ treatment. So much so that prosecutors filed child endangerment charges against Latricia Greene. The charges stemmed from alleged details of the Greene’s using “switches” on Charlie and his brother. It was also reported that the 5-year-old boy was made to sleep in a dog kennel within the home. There were additional allegations of Dequan Greene force feeding both boys and the possible mistreatment of one of Greene’s biological children.

It was when the medical examiner determined Charlie’s cause of death, investigators could secure a search warrant for Greene’s home. Prosecutor’s later stated that when Latricia Greene was questioned at the hospital and learned of a search warrant to be obtained, she called her husband, Dequan, and suggested that he “clean up what you can” before officers served the warrant. This action turned the detective’s focus to her involvement in the children’s mistreatment.

What Prosecutors Believed Happened to Charlie Garay

In the morning hours of December 20, 2020, Charlie accidentally urinated in his pants. When questioned by his foster mother, Latrisha, he allegedly lied about what he had done. She made him take a cold shower and stand with his back against a wall with bent knees, for an unspecified period.

Later that same day, Dequan Greene was watching the children while his wife was out shopping. During this time, Charlie was injured. Greene called his wife instead of calling for an ambulance. When she arrived at their house, she called 911 to request emergency care for Charlie.

Initially, Greene had told emergency services that Charlie had fallen off of his child-sized chair. He explained that after Charlie had fallen, he started slurring his speech before going unconscious. Greene told other people the child had choked, which is why an ambulance had been called.

When Latricia Greene was questioned by police while at the hospital, she called her husband to warn him. Then, the police arrested Daquan Greene for the murder of Charlie Garay. The police also charged Latricia Greene with tampering with evidence.

Legal Proceedings Against Dequan and Latricia Greene

Dequan Greene was formally arrested on January 22, 2021. Prosecutors charged him with second degree murder, first degree manslaughter, and child endangerment. He was convicted in September 2022. Schenectady County Judge Matthew Sypniewski sentenced Greene to 25 years to life in prison on December 6, 2022. He is serving his sentence at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, NY. Judge Sypniewski was impassioned when he delivered Greene’s sentence.

Although prosecutors dropped the tampering with evidence charge against Letricia Greene, they filed new charges against her because of her testimony during her husband’s trial. They charged her with four counts of first-degree perjury regarding her testimony concerning texts she sent to her husband regarding injuries to the two boys. Prosecutors charged him with an additional two counts of misdemeanor, endangering the welfare of a child. She was found guilty on June 23, 2023.

On August 25, 2023, Judge Chad Brown, Schenectady County Court, gave Latricia Greene the maximum sentence allowed for her charges. A judge sentenced her to 9 1/3 years to 28 years for all of her charges combined and ordered her to serve them consecutively. The court also ordered her to pay $6,375 in fines and issued an order of protection to last 36 years regarding future contact with the 5-year-old foster child.

The Aftermath

On the day that Charlie Garay was taken to Ellis Hospital, Charlie’s unnamed brother also went to the hospital. During his stay there, he mentioned to several people about how he was looking forward to Christmas, which was less than a week away. On December 23, 2022, doctors cleared the 5-year-old and released him from the hospital. He was placed in another foster home. This foster home could offer him a safe, loving, and nurturing environment. When the Schenectady Prosecutor’s Office learned of the child’s Christmas hope, they pooled their resources together and purchased his Christmas presents. According to reports, the child continues to heal and thrive.

Charlie Garay was cremated. His final resting place is unknown.

No information was found regarding the Greene’s biological children.

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