The same week a New York City woman planned to file an order of protection against her estranged husband, he allegedly decapitated both her and their young daughter before hanging himself.
The bodies of Jennifer Schlecht, 42, her estranged husband Yonathan Tedla, 46, and their 5-year-old daughter Abayesh were found inside their Harlem condo on Wednesday night after her brother called 911 out of worry, according to the New York Daily News. His sibling didn’t show up to court for an order of protection meeting and she became unreachable to the family. The couple was in the midst of a divorce.
First responders found Schlecht decapitated in the condo’s bathroom floor, with her head in her lap, according to the Daily News. Abayesh was found dead in a bedroom with her throat slit so badly that she was also decapitated. A silver hunting knife had been used to kill both of them, according to the New York Post.
Tedla was found hanging from a rope tied to Abayesh’s bedroom door.
Before the deadly discovery, Schlecht told her family that Tedla had threatened to kill her if she ended their marriage, according to the Daily News.
“The last time we talked to our daughter was on Sunday,” Schlecht’s dad Kenneth Schlecht told the Daily News. “She was in tears, said her husband had indicated that if she served him with divorce papers he would ruin her or take them all out. Which was apparently what he did.”
Schlecht worked for the United Nations Foundation’s Family Planning 2020, a group that advocates for women and girls in Africa and Southeast Asia to gain access to reproductive health care.
“Jennifer Schlecht devoted her entire career to ensuring that women and girls in crisis situations have access to the best medical care possible including family planning and other reproductive health care,” the group’s Executive Director Beth Schlachter said in a statement.
She went on to say that her death under such “brutal circumstances is beyond understanding. But we will all remember her for her life – and the thousands of lives she enriched – rather than the horrible way she died. We are utterly devastated.”
Prior to her work with Family Planning, Schlecht was a Peace Corps member, according to the New York Daily News. She went to Columbia University about a decade ago where she met Tedla, who was working there in the IT department.
Schlecht previously filed a temporary restraining order against Tedla in 2016 after he threatened her, but she stopped pursuing the order and that case was later dismissed in court, a court spokesperson told the Daily News.
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