Relatives of a 100-year-old victim of a heartless Brooklyn home invasion that left her husband of 30 years dead said she has already forgiven the killers — one of whom, according to a police source, might be a relative.
Gutsy Ethlin Thompson returned to her Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone Thursday night after a brief stay at Kings County Hospital — a day after four suspects targeted her and her 91-year-old husband Waldiman Thompson in a meticulously-planned home invasion.
Despite her paralyzing grief and the trauma of being bound and robbed, Thompson leaned on her Christian faith and the support of family and friends.
“She said that she forgives the people that did this,” said Thompson’s great niece, Dorene Hunter. “I kissed her hand. I told her I love her. I didn’t talk about the situation.”
Though the still-traumatized Thompson was cooperating with investigators, it was unclear if the grieving widow was aware of the compounding twist — that cops were interviewing a nephew, and considered him a person of interest, according to the police source.
The nephew, according to the source had been at the home a half-hour before the break in. The source said the nephew had not been around in a while, and showed up out of the blue.
“At the very least, it’s somebody they know really well,” the police source said.
Authorities said there were no signs of forced entry.
Thompson, who managed to free herself after being tied by the thieves, was supposed to be released from the hospital sooner. But a source said her blood pressure spiked and the hospital kept her longer for observation.
Doctors weren’t taking any chances. Even as she returned home to pack some belongings for a stay at a relative’s home, an ambulance remained on standby across the street.
Thompson was escorted from the back of an unmarked police car to her home. She was accompanied by about a dozen detectives, community affairs cops and relatives. She appeared fragile before walking inside.
“She’s still in total denial about her husband,” a police source said. “She keeps asking for him.”
Meanwhile, cops say the suspects knew where they were going and what they wanted from the couple’s residence.
“They knew where to look,” a police source said. “There is no other reason why these two got picked by these thieves.”
The perps left her spouse for dead and made off with $5,000 cash.
Waldiman was found unconscious and face-down near the couple’s bedroom, with a blanket wrapped around his head and a pillow pressed into his face, police sources said.
Video captured very clear images of the suspects near the couple’s Decatur St. home, and cops were confident that arrests were imminent, police sources said.
Cops also intend to ask Thompson what happened when the robbers appeared at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday.
The sweet elderly couple was known in the neighborhood for sitting outside with their five pet parakeets.
“Yellow ones and green ones,” said neighbor Kevin Tinsley, 61. “And the birds always made noise. That’s what attracted my grandchildren.
“They were the nicest couple,” he added. “All they had was each other.”
Other friends of the senior citizen sweethearts were ready to find the suspects themselves.
“The guys in the neighborhood, they’re saying they don’t want a reward,” said Carol Matthews, 63. “(The cops) better find out before these guys do.”
The criminal quartet moved quickly after slipping inside, throwing blankets over the heads of the couple and tying them up. Ethlin managed to work herself free and run outside, screaming for help.
But assistance came too late for Waldiman, who died at Interfaith Medical Center about an hour after the robbers targeted the couple.
The medical examiner’s office said the cause of death was sudden cardiac arrest after a home invasion “with robbery and restraint in a person with hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.”
The case was ruled a homicide.
Ethlin was a beloved regular at a nearby bodega, the Community Deli Gourmet. Police were reviewing security video taken from the store, where Thompson came each day for two turkey subs — one for her, one for her husband.
“She’s the best woman!” said co-owner Fethi Kassim, 29.
Bodega colleague Ali Ahmde, 63, recalled Ethlin as perpetually upbeat.
“She came every day,” he recalled. “She’d said, “hello, how are you doing? How’s your day?’”