A New Jersey mother and her two young children were found dead inside their apartment on Wednesday, shortly after the body of the woman’s estranged husband was discovered in nearby woods in a suspected case of triple murder-suicide.
Family members have identified the victims as Ruth Reyes, 30, her five-year-old daughter, Euriany, and two-year-old son, Eury.
Reyes’ deceased husband has been identified as 54-year-old Eugenio Severino. Friends said the wife took out a restraining order against Severino last month because he had threatened to kill her.
The tragic incident began unfolding on Wednesday morning when a passerby came across Severino’s body hanging from a tree in the woods off of Sportsman Road in Carneys Point, reported CBS Philadelphia.
Local police officers looked up the man’s address in nearby Penns Grove and contacted their colleagues there, requesting a welfare check at his apartment on Helms Cove Lane.
When Penns Grove cops made their way inside the unit, they found Reyes stabbed to death in the bathroom alongside her children, the Spanish-language news site Diario Libre reported.
Reyes’ employer at La Cuchara restaurant, where the mom-of-two worked as a server, told NJ.com that she and Severino had been married in their native Dominican Republic before arriving in New Jersey two years ago.
Restaurant owner Johnny Solano said he knew that Reyes and Severino’s already strained relationship took a turn for the worse two weeks ago, when the husband threatened to kill the wife and she kicked him out of their apartment.
Reyes then went to court and obtained a restraining order against Severino.
Next-door neighbor Elibeth Ortiz said she, too, was aware of the couple’s marital problems. She said Severino was ‘too possessive’ and the pair sometimes could be heard arguing.
Those who knew Reyes described her as a great mother to her children and a kind person.
‘She was always there for her kids, always working,’ friend Keyla Padilla told 6ABC. ‘If not working, she was in her house. She was very humble and stayed to herself. Very friendly.’