Monday, July 19, 2010

Fitchburg, MA: Man arrested in Fitchburg in connection with homicide

E-mail|LinkJuly 18, 2010 03:17 PM
By June Q. Wu and Emma Stickgold,Globe Correspondents

FITCHBURG — A young mother of two was found stabbed to death on the floor of the living room in her apartment yesterday morning in what authorities officials described as a ‘‘savage attack.’’

In a bathroom not far from her body, her, in a bathroom, the suspect, a 29-year-old man who was not identified, was suffering from multiple knife wounds, apparently multiple self-inflicted. knife wounds. The two young children of the woman, identified last night by a spokesman for the Worcester County district attorney’s office District office as Sarin Chan, were found unharmed in another room.

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. did not provide details on the nature of the relationship between Chan, 25, and the man, but he characterized the homicide as a case of domestic violence.

‘‘It is apparent that the children did make observations of the apartment and some of the incident,’’ Early said, ‘‘but I can’t go any further than that at this point.’’

Police responded to a call from the Plymouth Street apartment about 10:30 a.m. yesterday.The man, who was found in a bathtub, was taken to the University of Massachusetts UMass Memorial Medical Center, where he was in critical condition after undergoing following surgery, Early said.

The children were taken by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and placed with a foster family, he added.

Chan had a new apartment and a new job lined up, according to the director of a neighborhood center where she the young mother had worked last summer.

‘‘She was trying to get her life together,’’ said Dolores Thibault-Muñoz, executive director of the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, a block away from Chan’s apartment.

‘‘She had been homeless. She was really trying hard, going back to school to become a [certified nursing assistant]. Things were getting off the ground for her.’’

Chan helped run the summer youth development program last year after landing one of the stimulus-funded jobs the center provided for low-income people youth in the city, Thibault-Muñoz said. ‘‘She was a really good worker.’’

Since the beginning of the month, Chan had been bringing her two children, ages 4 and 6, to the center for the free weekday breakfast and lunch program, she said.

Thibault-Muñoz last saw Chan at the center about two weeks ago, she said.
Chan and the suspect had moved to Fitchburg from Boston, according to Early, who said at the news conference that local police were not aware of any history of domestic violence.

Christina Gonzalez, 26, said Chan was her friend, and she recalled seeing her with her two children both in the neighborhood and at Cleghorn Center.

Chan often wore bright colors, she said, a sign of her colorful personality.

‘‘Sarin was a good person,’’ Gonzalez said. ‘‘She was always smiling, always happy.’’

Children often bicycle up and down Plymouth Street, at break-neck pace, and Gonzalez said the neighborhood is tight-knit.

‘‘This doesn’t happen around here,’’ she said of the violence. Her mother, she said, last talked to Chan on Friday, noting that she Chan had seemed very happy with how her summer was going.

‘‘She was always loud and funny,’’ Gonzalez said. ‘‘I lost a good friend. The community lost a good person.’’

Asked if whether there were any signs of trouble between Chan and the suspect, Gonzalez said she had not noticed anything out of the ordinary.

‘‘She always seemed fine,’’ Gonzalez said. ‘‘You never could tell anything.’’

Since Jan. 1, 16 people have been victims of domestic violence homicides statewide, said Toni Troop, director of communications of Jane Doe Inc., a statewide coalition against sexual assault and domestic violence.

Of the 16 cases, at least nine of the alleged perpetrators then attempted or committed or attempted suicide, Troop said.

‘‘Domestic violence homicides are not random, isolated acts,’’ Troop said.

‘‘It’s a threat in every case of domestic violence; it is the ultimate threat used to intimidate or control the victim.’’

Fitchburg police said they have arrested a man in connection with a domestic homicide.

Police responded to an emergency call this morning at a Plymouth Street apartment complex, officials said.

Police have a male suspect with undisclosed injuries in custody, according to Sgt. Glenn Fossa, a spokesman for the Fitchburg police department.

“The case appears to have been a homicide with a domestic element,” Fossa said.

Local and state police are investigating the murder, and no other information was available, Fossa said.

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