PENNS GROVE, NEW JERSEY: A New Jersey mother and her two young children were found dead inside their apartment shortly after her estranged husband was found hanging in the nearby woods in what police suspect is a case of triple-murder suicide.
The chain of gruesome discoveries was made after a passerby came across the body of 54-year-old Eugenio Severino hanging from a tree in the woods off Sportsman Road in Carneys Point on Wednesday, February 5, according to CBS Philadelphia.
The man notified local police, who looked up Severino’s address in Penn’s Grove and contacted fellow officers to request a welfare check at the residence.
“The adult male was ruled a death by hanging at Carneys Point which led officers to 47 Madole Place,” said Penns Grove Police Chief Patrick Riley.
When Penn’s Grove deputies arrived at his Helms Cove Lane apartment, their worst fears were confirmed. Inside were the bodies of Severino’s wife, 30-year-old Ruth Reyes, and their two children, five-year-old daughter Eurianny, and two-year-old son Eury.
Reyes had been stabbed to death in the bathroom, and the bodies of the two children were lying next to her.
Johnny Salano, Reyes’ employer at La Cuchara restaurant, where she worked as a server, revealed to NJ.com that she and Severino had tied the knot in their native Dominican Republic before arriving in New Jersey two years ago and that cracks had begun appearing in their relationship recently.
He said their relationship broke beyond repair two weeks ago when Severino threatened to kill her. She had subsequently kicked him out of the apartment and gone to court to obtain a restraining order against the 54-year-old.
Elibeth Ortiz, who lived next door to the family, similarly confirmed that the couple had marital problems. She said Severino was “too possessive” and that she had heard them arguing from her home a few times.
“The news impacted me,” said one of Reyes’ cousins, who had traveled to New Jersey from Massachusetts to collect personal belongings. “It’s horrific, two children, that age, his children, his wife.”
Reyes’ friend, Keyla Padilla, paid tribute to her and called her a good mom and a kind person. “She is a great person, she was always there for her kids, always working,” she said. “If not working, she was in her house. She was very humble and stayed to herself. Very friendly.”