NEW YORK (AP) — A man killed his estranged wife and their 5-year-old child with a knife then took his own life in their Harlem home, the New York Police Department said Thursday.
Police responding to a 911 call from distressed relatives found the bodies of Jennifer Schlecht, 42, and her young daughter Abaynesh Schlecht Tedla in the apartment about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday.
They also discovered the body of the man they believed was responsible for the killings, Yonathan Tedla.
The couple was going through a divorce. Schlecht, who worked for the United Nations Foundation, had called her parents Sunday and expressed fear for her and her child’s safety, according to her father.
“She was in tears, a basket case,” Kenneth Schlecht told The New York Times. “She didn’t know if he would carry on with the threats.”
Stunned neighbors expressed shock that Tedla, 46, who was often seen smiling while carrying his daughter on his shoulders, would have done such a thing. Neighbor Jane Chancellor tearfully called the young girl “a precious thing.”
The United Nations Foundation’s Family Planning 2020 project, where Schlecht worked, said she had worked in international relief and development, including specialized work in reproductive health and child marriage.
“Jenn was such a bright light in the world, and we all loved her. This is hard to understand,” said Tamar Abrams, the project’s communications director.