The mother of an alleged carjacker charged with running down three children with a stolen SUV was offered a $110,000 reward for turning her son over to police, but turned the money down, officials tell NBC10.
Police sources and 19-year-old Jonathan Rosa's attorney, Christopher Warren, tell NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn that the man's mother was the person responsible for helping police crack the murder and sexual assault case.
Warren says homicide detectives interviewed Rosa on Saturday after tracking him through his cell phone. The phone was left at the scene of the crash at Germantown and Allegheny Avenues and found by a witness.
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The police questioning came a day after he and 23-year-old Cornelius Crawford allegedly carjacked a realtor, sexually assaulted the woman and then sped off with her inside, authorities say. The men lost control of the SUV at the intersection and plowed through a family selling fruit on the corner, police said. The crash killed three siblings, critically injured their mother and a family friend. The realtor was also hurt after the vehicle slammed into a tree.
However, detectives released Rosa after their initial questioning because he said his phone had been stolen, according to Warren. Police had no reason to hold the teen, who did not have a record, the attorney added.
"I don't blame the police for letting him go because he was the last person on Earth you'd think would be involved in this," Warren said.
But after the teen returned home and spoke with his mother, she took him back to police on Sunday to turn himself in. Hours later, Crawford was arrested. By Monday, both men were charged.
"His mom had heard that he had been picked up for questioning and she sat down there and she started talking and by Sunday morning they had the pictures of the three kids in the papers. He saw that, lost it and decided to do the right thing," Warren said.
Homicide Capt. James Clark tells NBC10 that Rosa's mother was offered the $110,000 reward -- one of the largest in the city's history. But Clark said the woman told detectives she wanted nothing to do with the money.
The final decision on who will get the reward lies with Mayor Michael Nutter's office. Detectives will provide the mayor's office with all tipsters' information and then city officials will handle handing out the cash.
Rosa is now under suicide watch in a city prison, sources say. He and Crawford were denied bail and are awaiting a preliminary hearing.