A suspected hooker who appeared to dote on her 9-year-old son suddenly snapped and bashed the boy’s head with a hammer, police sources said.
The unthinkable crime Friday night was the city’s third child murder in as many days.
Ex-con Tenika Revell, 40, called 911 just before 11 p.m., police said. As if she had ice in her veins, she coldly told the operator that she killed her child and had taken pills to try to end her own life, police said.
Cops rushed to her Brooklyn apartment and found the woman alive. But her son Bernard couldn’t be saved.
The accused killer’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbors were stunned by the violence, saying that Revell appeared to adore her son, whom she often called “Little B.”
“They were like this,” said neighbor Victoria Green, as she crossed her fingers. “Always tight.”
Bernard was found with bruises and lacerations to his head, police said.
The monster mom, treated at Woodhull Hospital, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.
Kay Jefferson, Revell’s cousin, and her son were supposed to spend Friday night at the suspect’s home on Marcus Garvey Blvd. for a sleepover — but canceled at the last minute.
“It would have been different,” said a devastated Jefferson, 38. “That was her baby. She loved that little boy. I don’t understand what would make her snap.”
Police sources said Revell had at least 33 prior arrests, including several for prostitution. Revell, who used several aliases, served two separate stints in prison after being convicted of attempted robbery and attempted burglary, records show.
Police were still trying to figure out late Saturday why she killed the boy.
Several neighbors said Revell told them she was suffering from cancer — and that her mood could darken in an instant.
“One day she’d be cool, calm and collected — next, she’d flip,” said Green, who added that Revell seemed fine Friday morning, hours before the murder.
Bernard, who attended Public School 44, was set to spend the weekend with his father — who learned the horrible news Saturday morning when he arrived to find that the apartment had turned into a crime scene.
The devastated dad sobbed openly for his son.
The death rocked the city just a day after a cop’s live-in girlfriend killed her two kids before trying — and failing — to kill herself. Lisette Bamenga, a city schoolteacher, forced her 5-year-old son and 4-month-old daughter to drink toxic windshield de-icer Thursday night. She sealed the windows with tape and plastic before turning on a gas stove, police sources said.
The shocking cases of mothers killing their children — a tragic phenomenon known as filicide — are not easy to explain, experts said.
Many women suffer from some postpartum depression after giving birth, but a violent outburst would almost certainly need to be caused by a more serious — and sometimes lethal — episode of postpartum psychosis.
“They can have delusions or false beliefs or sometimes even hear voices that dictate their behavior,” said Dr. Diana Barnes, a postpartum depression and psychosis expert.
Barnes, who was speaking generally about the subject and not about the two local cases, cautioned that warning signs can easily be missed.
“In the throes of a psychosis, you may not even know that you are ill,” said Barnes, a Los Angeles-based doctor. “It could be a break with reality [and] it would leave any children around very vulnerable.”