Health Management

Family’s Deaths in West Side Apartment Were Murder-Suicide, the Police Say


The boys stood within the hallway in entrance of a locked, fourth-floor condo door on the Higher West Aspect on Monday afternoon.

Mario Lopez was the constructing’s former superintendent and his son Edison, the present tremendous, had not dropped off his sons, ages 1 and three, with their grandmother for babysitting that morning.

Now, nobody was answering the door and Mr. Lopez had introduced his daughter-in-law’s brother — himself a brilliant in a constructing throughout the road — to test on the household.

With instruments Mr. Lopez had used numerous instances to restore and enhance the co-op on West 86th Avenue, they drilled out the lock cylinder.

“We may see by means of the opening,” Mr. Lopez stated in an interview. On the opposite facet, his daughter-in-law, Alexandra Witek, was splayed on the ground. “We noticed her laying down with the blood already throughout her.”

They dialed 911. The police, arriving at 328 W. 86th Avenue, walked right into a grim scene: Ms. Witek, 40, was mendacity within the hallway along with her kids, Lucien Lopez, 3, and Calvin Lopez, 1, police officers stated. Officers noticed two kitchen knives on the ground shut by. All three had been fatally stabbed, and their throats have been slit.

In one other room, the officers found Edison Lopez, 41, on a mattress subsequent to a knife, with a single, deadly slash to his neck.

Police officers stated that Edison Lopez had killed all three, after which himself.

The police, family members and tenants of the constructing on West 86th Avenue stated Mr. Lopez didn’t sign that something may be amiss. The police by no means obtained home violence studies from the condo. Mr. Lopez didn’t depart a be aware, nor did he put up something on social media to point that he might need been a hazard to his household.

He had gone along with his spouse and youngsters and one other household to the Intrepid Sea, Air & House Museum in Manhattan on Monday morning, hours earlier than they have been discovered useless, in keeping with the police.

Mr. Lopez had been making ready to maneuver to Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County, lower than 20 miles north of Manhattan for a brand new job, stated Joseph E. Kenny, the assistant chief of detectives on the New York Police Division. Chief Kenny stated the police are investigating whether or not the stress of the transfer contributed to the killings.

On Tuesday, Mario Lopez nonetheless couldn’t course of what he had seen. He stated he didn’t consider that his son was accountable.

“How would you’re feeling in the event you discovered your two grandchildren and your son and your daughter-in-law laying there?” he stated.

The couple had identified one another their complete lives. They grew up on this block the place the kids of supers play in Riverside Park and in between the stately prewar buildings. The tight circle of people that keep the houses of others exists inside a bigger ecosystem of medical doctors, legal professionals and Broadway artists. Additionally it is the place, as within the case of the tremendous and Mr. Lopez, sons comply with the profession paths established by their fathers.

On Monday night, a criminal offense scene van was parked in entrance of the co-op close to the darkish inexperienced awning that results in the foyer. A number of the officers there wore hazmat fits as they wheeled stretchers previous the residents, reporters and information photographers gathered exterior. One lady requested a doorman who had died. He advised her. She cried, “Ed, no, no. That’s my pal.”

Different doormen and supers had additionally arrived, and talked amongst themselves. Most stated that they had identified the household for years, and have been uncertain easy methods to course of the scene.

One, Alfonso Barrera, a retired tremendous, stated he had lengthy identified the Lopez household, and had watched Mr. Lopez and his spouse develop up. Carlos Cabrera, a doorman subsequent door, stated Mr. Lopez would typically take his toddler to Riverside Park, the little boy standing within the entrance of his electrical scooter. “He had a lovely household and he was a really good particular person,” he stated. “I couldn’t ever have stated what’s mistaken.”

Ms. Witek, who was referred to as Ola, was a instructor on the Rodeph Sholom Faculty close by. “Our group was devastated to study of the premature passing of our longtime, beloved instructor,” Danny Karpf, the top of faculty, stated in an e mail.

Mario Lopez stated his son and Ms. Witek had gone to the general public Beacon Excessive Faculty collectively within the Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. They married years later, once they have been of their 30s. “I by no means noticed them combating,” Mario Lopez stated. “They really have been going to start out a brand new life, a brand new job, in a greater condo constructing.”

Former and present tenants stated Mr. Lopez was composed, thoughtful and attentive, typically repairing their damaged door hinges and dishwashers. He helped to take care of the well-kept constructing, and was typically seen watering the vegetation through the summer time months.

Mario Lopez and several other tenants stated Mr. Lopez was excited to take one other job exterior town — the place his household would have a three-bedroom condo, fairly than the one-bedroom he grew up in the place he at present lived — and was making ready to maneuver subsequent month.

“It was the best transfer,” stated Lynne Allen, 72, who has lived within the constructing since 1981, and had identified Mr. Lopez since he was 10 years outdated.

“He was on the proper age to maneuver to a much bigger constructing with extra duty and extra space,” she added. “They dwell in a one-bedroom condo. That’s tight, you already know?”

By Tuesday morning, the warning tape that had been strung exterior the constructing was gone. A bouquet of sunflowers had been left on the stoop alongside two toy automobiles, one purple and one yellow.

Zachary Small and Olivia Bensimon contributed reporting.

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