A small vigil was held on Thursday to remember the Upper West Side family that was tragically killed in a murder-suicide earlier in the week. The CEO of the domestic violence rescue organization, We All Really Matter (WARM), Stephanie McGraw, spoke at the vigil, urging people to speak up if they see someone in distress. She emphasized that human life was lost and that a mother and her two innocent children were no longer with us due to an act of violence. While the community came together to mourn the loss, many expressed confusion and shock over the horrific crime.
Neighbors and friends of the family, however, shared that they had never seen any signs of trouble. The building superintendent, Edison Lopez, and his childhood sweetheart, Alexandra “Ola” Witek, seemed like a loving couple who always greeted their neighbors with smiles. They were often seen holding hands as they walked through the neighborhood, and Lopez was always with his children, Lucian and Calvin, who he adored. The family seemed happy and content, leaving everyone astonished by the tragedy that unfolded.
Witek was described as a doting mother who frequently took her boys to Riverside Park. She was friendly and protective, always looking out for her children. Lopez, on the other hand, was known as a kind and polite gentleman who had grown up in the same apartment building where the crime took place. He followed in his father's footsteps and became the building superintendent, a job he was well-known and beloved for. Friends and neighbors are struggling to understand how such a seemingly gentle person could commit such a horrific act of violence.
Even Lopez's own father, who found the bodies after being unable to reach the family, is unable to comprehend his son's actions. Mario Lopez, the building superintendent across the street, described his son as level-headed and expressed his shock and disbelief at the tragedy that unfolded within his own family.
The city medical examiner's report confirmed that all four family members died from knife-induced neck wounds. Witek and the boys died from sharp force injuries, while Lopez's cause of death was self-inflicted wounds. The autopsies concluded that their deaths were homicides.
The family had been planning to move to a bigger home just days before the murder-suicide occurred. Friends and neighbors recall seeing them just the day before, going about their normal routine, seemingly happy and excited for the future. The move was seen as a step up and an opportunity for the family to have more space and make a fresh start.
The motive behind the murder-suicide remains unclear, as there were no prior reports of domestic violence or signs of mental illness. While Lopez may have been feeling stressed about the job change and the impending move, friends and neighbors described the family as stable and loving.
The community is left heartbroken and searching for answers. Teachers from Lucian's school, West Side Family Pre-School, expressed their shock and grief, remembering Witek as a remarkable woman. Friends who visited the memorial outside the apartment building are struggling to comprehend the senseless tragedy and remember Lopez as a loving father who adored his children.
As the investigation continues, the community is left grappling with the loss of a beloved family and seeking to understand the events that led to this unthinkable act of violence.