New York man beheads wife and places it on her lap before killing 5-year-old daughter and himself because he didn't want a divorce
Yonathan Tedla, 46, an immigrant from Ethiopia, Jennifer Schlecht, 42, and their daughter Abaynesh Schlecht Tedla, 5, were all found dead on November 6
Warning: Distressing content
HARLEM, NEW YORK: New York police are investigating a brutal double-murder suicide where a man decapitated his wife, killed his daughter, and then hanged himself, just hours after his wife tried to get an order of protection against him on November 6.
On the outside, Yonathan Tedla, 46, an immigrant from Ethiopia, Jennifer Schlecht, 42, and their daughter Abaynesh Schlecht Tedla, 5, were the perfect family. Friends and neighbors said they were a "normal, every-day family" who was "lovely" and a "part of the community."
However, the marriage had been fraught with tension for the longest time, a tension that eventually culminated in Tedla taking the drastic step of ending all of their lives over impending divorce, according to the New York Daily News.
The couple was, in fact, due in court just hours before the gruesome double-murder suicide with the deaths coming to light after Schlecht's brother contacted the authorities that evening to request a welfare check when he failed to reach her by phone.
When deputies responded to their residence at 151 West 121st Street in the Harlem section of Manhattan at around 9:18 pm on November 6, they were greeted by a horrific sight. Tedla was found hanging in his daughter's bedroom while his wife and daughter were in a bathroom and another bedroom respectively.
Schlecht was found decapitated, with her severed head resting in her lap. Abaynesh reportedly suffered a cut so deep to her neck that she was partially beheaded. It is currently unclear how long they had been dead before their bodies were discovered.
Police seized a knife, believed to be the murder weapon, from the scene for forensic analysis.
Schlecht's father, Kenneth Schlecht, 74, revealed that she had felt threatened by her husband for the longest time and that the last time he spoke to her on November 3, she was in tears.
"She 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," he said.
He said their marriage had started falling apart after Abaynesh's birth, and that around the time the young girl turned two, his daughter had gotten an order of protection against Tedla.
However, she eventually decided to stay with him because she didn't want Abaynesh to grow up without a father.
The 74-year-old also said his daughter had informed them she was planning to go to court on November 5 to get another protection order against her husband, but couldn't do so as the courts were closed because of the elections.