The family of the domestic violence victim who was hacked up and stuffed in suitcases in her Brooklyn apartment recalled the young woman as a “loving” aspiring teacher as they questioned why the building’s staff didn’t do more to protect her.
The aunt of Dasia Johnson, 22, criticized the security guards at the Linwood Street apartment building for not prohibiting her abusive boyfriend from entering the location after witnesses saw him beating her in the hallways and the police were called numerous times, according to neighbors.
“They dropped the ball here,” the aunt, who declined to share her name, said by phone.
Johnson also had an active restraining order against her boyfriend and he’d previously been arrested for coming to the apartment in March to pick up his belongings, law-enforcement sources said.
“They know their tenants. They opened the door for him,” the aunt added. “She didn’t have no other boyfriend. They didn’t do enough. They could have prevented him from coming in there… They’re security, they’re trained to put somebody down. There is ways to stop him from coming in.”
Johnson’s aunt said she asked the building’s security guards on Wednesday to conduct a wellness check after her phone had been off — and when they arrived, the woman’s boyfriend and another man were in the unit and refused to let the guards in.
The guards left to call police and in the meantime, the two men managed to slip away.
“The next thing I hear, a detective calls me and tells me it’s a crime scene now,” the aunt recalled.
“They let them just walk out [after the wellness check]. There is 24 hour security in the building.”
Police entered the unit and found a scene that neighbors described as being from a horror movie, with the woman’s body in two suitcases, her bathtub stained with blood and a meat cleaver nearby.
At the time of Johnson’s tragic death, the young woman had been working hard to get her life together and was well on her way, her heartbroken aunt said.
“Dasia was a loving, full of life girl. She was working [at Macy’s], she wanted to finish school. She wanted to be a teacher,” the aunt said.
“She was in school, she was working. She was well loved. It’s just horrible.
“She loved her sister, she loved her mother. She was a pretty girl. It’s just sad that her life was unfortunately cut short.”
Johnson was a client of HousingPlus, a non-profit group that provides supportive and stable housing to vulnerable women, such as domestic violence victims, people with criminal histories and women who suffer from mental health issues.
The building where Johnson lived is owned by a private company, C&C Apartment Management, which provides on-site security. HousingPlus provides social services to a third of the building’s residents to help them get back on their feet. They declined to comment on the situation, calling it an “ongoing police investigation.” The management company that runs the building couldn’t be reached for comment.
The aunt said her niece tried to leave her boyfriend “numerous times” and as recently as August 16, talked about her plans to get away during a dinner party with family.
“She was happy. She told us, ‘I’m done with him.’ If she would have told us [the full extent of the abuse], we were able to help her, if we knew more,” the aunt said.
“It’s just so sad. She was so skinny. This boy overpowered her… He was leeching off of her. He was using her kindness. Her mother is terminally ill and she needed a friend, and she thought that he was that friend.”
Johnson’s boyfriend is considered a person of interest in the slaying and is currently being sought by police.
The woman’s aunt wants the NYPD and the public to release his photo so police can take him into custody and question him.
“We want justice for Dasia. We want this boy found. That is why we are asking to put his picture out to the public. The public needs to be made aware of who he is. That’s why he’s so hard to pinpoint, nobody has his picture,” she said.
“This is really hard. She was a victim. She was full of life. I was trying to help her. I tried to step in. I pretty much raised her most of her life. I heard of one incident [between them] and I told her, ‘This is not love. It’s not going to get any better. It will only get worse.’”