The Miami Strangler, Part 2

Eight years later, a dead girl's family awaits justice

When Maycock opened her eyes, she was lying in the Lincoln's spacious back seat. Braddy was driving. Quatisha was in the front passenger seat. Maycock looked out the window and recognized the neighborhood. They hadn't driven very far.

Maycock reached into the front, grabbed Quatisha, and pulled her into the back. As Braddy turned, Maycock opened the door and jumped out of the moving car, cradling the little girl in her arms. They slammed into the concrete, rolling over and over. Braddy stopped the car and turned around. Maycock struggled to get to her feet and run, but her abductor was right behind.

He threw her to the ground, wrapped his fingers around her neck, and squeezed until her world turned black once again.

Braddy stood on a chair and tried to escape through the 
interrogation room's ceiling
Trevor Aaronson
Braddy stood on a chair and tried to escape through the interrogation room's ceiling
He used brute strength to bend a metal grate
Trevor Aaronson
He used brute strength to bend a metal grate

Braddy placed her body in the trunk, she later reported. He drove northwest on U.S. 27 — the same road where a previous captive, aspiring gospel singer Griffin D. Davis, had barely escaped with his life after Braddy kidnapped him.

About an hour later, Maycock regained consciousness as the trunk opened. It was nighttime. They were in a wooded area on a secluded road. Maycock lay lifeless, her eyes closed. Braddy discarded her body on the side of the road, leaving the young mother for dead. She was conscious but not moving, and could hear Quatisha sobbing in the front seat. Braddy drove away. Quatisha's screams slowly faded into the night.

A few hours later, two men on vacation from New Orleans noticed a body alongside U.S. 27, near the guardrail. They stopped. Mud and dirt covered Maycock. Bruises marked her neck and face. The whites of her eyes had turned blood-red. She was alive.

"He's got my baby," Maycock whispered. "He's got my baby."

Maycock soon learned she was in western Palm Beach County, about five miles north of the Broward County line. An ambulance rushed her to Glades Medical Center in Boca Raton — about 50 miles from the state prison where Braddy had spent thirteen years for strangling a prison guard.

Maycock's neck was so swollen she could barely speak. But she found the breath to give police a name:

Harrel Braddy.

At 2:30 a.m. — around the time doctors were treating Maycock at Glades General — Cyteria Braddy awoke to a racket in the laundry room of the Carol City home. The washing machine was oscillating with soapy water. Inside were the clothes Braddy had worn earlier that evening. Outside her husband was using wet cloths to wipe down the inside of the Town Car.

"He said he had been to the lake and he was cleaning out the fishy smell, or something like that," Cyteria told investigators.

She didn't think any more about the incident. About 9:00 a.m. the next day, Braddy and his wife drove to a church function in their Dodge. Miami-Dade Police, in an unmarked car, followed them. Braddy pulled into a gas station just off the Palmetto Expressway and began to pump fuel. He was wearing khaki pants, a white T-shirt, and dusty brown boots.

Police pulled in behind. Det. Juan Murias approached Braddy. "I want to ask you several questions concerning a missing five-year-old girl by the name of Quatisha Maycock," Murias said.

Braddy bowed his head, Murias later recalled. Tears streamed down the man's face and he began sweating profusely. He stumbled, almost losing his balance. A detective handed a bottle of water to Braddy, who agreed to come to the police station.

At 10:00 a.m., Homicide Det. Fernando Suco sat down in the interrogation room. Braddy explained to him that he worked in construction and did not do drugs. In fact, he said, he didn't have any vices.

Then Braddy paused and said something that startled Suco: "Moses was a murderer, and John, who was related to Moses, was an adulterer. That, in itself, did not make them bad men."

While being interviewed, Braddy kept changing his story. At first he said he hadn't seen Maycock the night before. A few hours later, his excuse changed: He'd seen her, alive and well, on the side of U.S. 27 in Palm Beach County, he said.

Suco asked if Braddy had a sexual relationship with Maycock. "He became very angry," Suco said. Every time the detective asked about sex, Braddy would demean Maycock. He said Maycock "never offered to have sex with him, but she would sit on his lap and take off her clothes," Suco recalled.

Braddy also became increasingly irritated as the interview dragged into the evening. Another detective joined Suco in the interrogation room.

"I was afraid to be in the room with him, because Mr. Braddy is a very, very large person," Suco said in a deposition. "He is very strong. He lifts up blocks for a living. The man has muscles in places that I wouldn't even know where to find.... If he would have wanted to take us out with his bare hands ... he probably would have broken our necks."

Suco told Braddy he knew he was involved in Quatisha's disappearance. He asked again: Where is the girl?

"I can't tell you," Braddy replied. "Even if I'm found innocent, my family won't talk to me again."

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