A Little Black Cloud

I need a place to vent and clear my thoughts. And what better place than my blog? This post may also offer some answers for those of you who have heard bits and pieces about what has transpired over the last week.

Last Tuesday, I received a frantic call from Mike at approximately 4:00 p.m. He was headed home from work. He had received a phone call from his father, advising him that his cousin had been murdered. As I got off work at 5:00, I checked my voicemail messages to realize I had 2 calls from my sister-in-law. I immediately returned the call to find out what was going on.

Mike’s cousin, Tom Lorigan, had picked up his daughter Heather from work late Monday night. When they got to Heather’s apartment, they were violently attacked by a young man and his girlfriend. Tom was stabbed multiple times in the head, neck and chest with a large knife or small sword. Heather was stabbed in the back of the head, abdomen and leg. Her 1-year-old and 2-year-old daughters were with her at the time of the incident.

Heather was able to make it to the phone and dial 9-1-1. By the time the ambulance arrived, the assailants had fled the scene, and Tom had died. Heather was nonresponsive and was immediately taken to the hospital. Her two small children were taken into custody of CYS for immediate placement pending investigation of the incident.

The police investigation continued over the next couple of days, and there were no arrests made as of Wednesday. Heather in the interim, was fighting for her life in crticial but stable condition at the hospital. Her 19-year-old sister, in the meantime was busy making funeral arrangements with other family members, trying to get things in order for her father.

The police finally made two arrests based upon information they had collected. The couple had previously lived with Heather and her estranged husband. While they waited for her to return to her apartment that evening, they unscrewed all of the lightbulbs, so that their attack would be a complete surprise.

To add to the conflict, Heather’s estranged husband was awarded custody of the children during a Court hearing Friday morning. Her husband was originally a suspect in the attack. As they were separated, he had also previously indicated that he wanted to have nothing to do with the children and didn’t want to have any responsibility for paying for them. His girlfriend, with whom he is living, recently had a child, which may or may not be his, and he is unemployed with no real goals. And this is the “man” (I use this term VERY lightly) with whom the Court trusts the children to live under the circumstances! Mike’s family was devastated by the Court ruling.

Friday afternoon, Mike, his brother Matt, and I went home to Jamestown for the funeral service for Tom. His injuries were primarily to the back of his head and his chest, so the funeral director was able to cover the superficial wounds, and we were able to have an open-casket ceremony. Calling hours were Friday afternoon and evening. We spent that time and the time thereafter with friends and family.

On Saturday morning, we attended the celebration of life ceremony/funeral service for Tom. When we arrived at the funeral home, we were advised that Tom’s brother Kelly was taken to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning for health complications. Kelly is a severe diabetic and had developed some sort of infection or complication in his leg. He was hospitalized awaiting surgery, and was unable to be in attendance for the service. Additionally, Heather was required to undergo additional surgery that very morning.

Needless to say, it has been a physically and mentally exhausting week for everyone. As the suspects were apparently apprehended in Ohio, they were awating extradiction to Pennsylvania. I received notice this evening that the young man they had in custody committed suicide yesterday. As the investigation was ongoing, I fear that he has taken perhaps helpful information to his grave.

Overall, everything is so devastating! Greenville is a small community. I earned my degree at Thiel College. It is a small, college town. I’m not saying it would be safe to leave your doors unlocked, by any means. But, the thought that such a violent crime could occur in such a community is astounding. It is even more astounding to realize that such a heinous crime occurred so close to the family tree.

Everyone has been so supportive, and the family (and I speak for everyone in the family, not just Mike and I) is so grateful for all the thoughts and prayers. We’re all still trying to wrap our heads around what has happened. There are so many unanswered questions, and so many things to sort through. It will still be an uphill battle at this point, and the family is only beginning its journey through the process of uncovering exactly what happened and to begin the healing process.

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