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Mother kills baby, then herself

Thursday, July 01, 2004
By Ronald Leir
Journal staff writer

Officials are still awaiting autopsy results in connection with last week's murder/suicide in Bayonne involving Emiri Padron, who police say smothered her 10-month-old daughter with a stuffed animal before stabbing herself in her uptown Kennedy Boulevard apartment.

Police listed the baby's name as Hanna Victoria Padron, but an uncle of the little girl said her name was Lana Grace Padron.

Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said the name Hanna appears on the baby's birth certificate but that Lana was used as a nickname.

DeFazio said investigators determined Padron, 24, stabbed herself twice on June 22, plunging a carving knife with an 8-inch blade into her chest after smothering her daughter with a foot-long stuffed toy animal, a pink piglet, as the baby lay in her crib.

Police said the bodies were discovered by Eduardo Padron, the woman's husband, when he returned from working the night shift at a security detail in Woodbridge. An emotionally overcome Padron was taken to Bayonne Medical Center for observation and later left with family members.

DeFazio said there was no indication the child had been beaten or otherwise physically harmed prior to the smothering, and added Eduardo Padron had nothing to do with the deaths.

Investigators were told by Eduardo Padron that his wife had been under the care of a psychiatrist and was taking prescription medication. DeFazio said police found an empty bottle of Zoloft, an antidepressant, in the apartment and one Zoloft pill on the floor.

While no notes were found at the couple's first-floor apartment at Boulevard Gardens, on Kennedy Boulevard between 49th and 50th streets, DeFazio said that with the consent of Eduardo Padron, investigators removed computer hard drives from the apartment to determine if Emiri Padron had written any electronic messages before the murder/suicide.

"We can't estimate time of death until after the autopsy is completed," DeFazio said. He also noted the official cause of death for the mother and child won't be known until the autopsy by the state Regional Medical Examiner's Office is completed.

Even hardened law enforcement veterans were shaken by the tragedy in the Kennedy Boulevard apartment, DeFazio said.

"One of my investigators told me that the baby looked like a beautiful doll," he said. "I think it takes a little bit out of everybody.

"An act of this kind is difficult to fathom when a biological parent kills a young child. We can only imagine she was not in her right mind."

Bayonne Police Director Mark Smith said: "It's a tragedy for the entire family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the father."

DeFazio said that Bayonne police were sent to the three-story, six-family building - one of a cluster of multifamily buildings that comprise the neat, landscaped rental complex - at 1:20 a.m. after receiving a 911 call from Eduardo Padron, who had just arrived home from his security job in Woodbridge.

At the time he made the call, Padron did not yet realize that his daughter was also dead, DeFazio said.

When Bayonne police arrived several minutes later, DeFazio said they found the lifeless body of Emiri Padron upright in a chair in the couple's bedroom, with the carving knife, smeared in blood, lying nearby on the floor.

The baby was in a crib in the bedroom, her face covered by the stuffed animal, DeFazio said.

An official pronouncement of death for the mother and baby was made at 3:30 a.m. by Dr. Junaid Shaikh, an assistant medical examiner from the state regional office in Newark.

After talking briefly with police, a distraught Eduardo Padron was taken to Bayonne Medical Center for observation and was later released.

DeFazio said Padron is staying with relatives for now.

"We're still numb, we're in shock," said a family member, who asked that his name not be used.

"It's a shock to all of us. We don't know why she did this and (Eduardo) doesn't know why, either. We're dumbfounded. There's no rhyme or reason for it."

The family member said that Emiri, who was born and raised in Japan but was educated in the United States, met Eduardo at a Christian retreat in Colorado about two years ago and they were soon married.

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