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Police: Charges ‘imminent’ in couple’s stabbing deaths

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Neighbors of an elderly couple who were found stabbed to death, one at a hospital in Merrillville and the other at home in Gary early Friday, remembered James and Margrine Haywood as “like family.”

“All of us are in a state of shock,” said Harold West, one of the victims’ neighbors in the 1500 block of Hovey Street who was watching the scene unfold.

A suspect who police say was “familiar” with the victims was arrested in the 3800 block of Carolina Street in Gary. Police did not reveal the relationship between the suspect and the victims.

The suspect was interviewed and held at Lake County Jail pending “imminent” charges from the prosecutor’s office, according to a news release from the Merrillville Police Department.

Police responded about 12:25 a.m. at Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus, 8701 Broadway in Merrillville, authorities said.

Margrine Haywood, 80, who was a patient at the hospital, was stabbed to death, said Merrillville Police Department Chief of Detectives Robert Wiley.

The hospital was locked down for nearly six hours while police investigated.

During the investigation, police went to the woman’s home in the 1500 block of Hovey Street in Gary and found James Haywood, 88, dead, said Gary Chief of Police Wade Ingram. Ingram described the man’s death as homicide.

The Lake County coroner’s office said both died of multiple stab wounds.

Margrine Haywood was pronounced dead at 1:50 a.m.; James Haywood was pronounced dead at 4:40 a.m.

“It’s a great neighborhood. We’re like family here,” West said.

Laverne Avery, the block club’s vice president, said the news was “unbelievable, just devastating.” The recent retiree has lived on the block since 1969 and has known the Haywoods since she was a teenager.

“It’s very strange sitting here and seeing their curtains closed,” Avery said. When Margrine Haywood was home, the front curtains were open and the couple could be seen about the house.

“He took very good care of her,” she said.

West said the Haywoods had two sons, Walter and Rodney, who would come by the home.

Margrine Haywood, who neighbors said had been in poor health for a while, was taken to the hospital July 4.

James Griffin, another neighbor, said James Haywood was a longtime employee of the Gary Housing Authority before retiring.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media



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