A happy new year celebration turned deadly Jan. 1, when an Indian-American woman became the first homicide victim in New York City, after what was reportedly a night of some hard partying to ring in 2018.
Stacy Loknath, 26, formerly known as Stacy Singh, was found face down, unconscious and unresponsive with multiple stab wounds to her torso, in the early afternoon inside her home on 103rd Avenue near 113th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens, according to police. Just a few hours before that, her husband Vishwanand Loknath, 42, referred to by friends and acquaintances, as Vinny, was found hanging from a tree in Forest Park, a mile and a half from their home, New York Daily News reported.
Two children are now left orphaned. But what is heartening is how the community is rallying to help the children and raise funds for their upkeep. Messages and donations poured in from hundreds of people following the tragedy and thousands have been raised. Meanwhile, social service organizations are demanding more attention be paid to domestic violence within the community.
Vinny Loknath’s death is being linked by police to Stacy Loknath’s murder, according to news reports and account given friends and family recounting what happened that fateful New Year’s Eve night.
The couple brought in the New Year by partying hard with family members and doing cocaine at a Queens restaurant, police said. Friends of the couple told police the two had been arguing with each other all night. Stabroek News, a media outlet from Guyana, identified Stacy Loknath as being of Guyanese descent.
Family members told New York Daily News that the fighting became so loud that at one point, the two were thrown out of the club where they were celebrating.
Romain Shaw, Singh’s brother-in-law, told the New York Daily News that Loknath was abusive.
“He was very abusive to her, but she stayed with him no matter what because they had two kids together. She was hoping for him to change, but he never did,” said Shaw.
Shaw added that Loknath had been drinking heavily and using cocaine at the New Year’s Eve party they attended.
“He was so drunk, so very drunk. He always beat her up when he went home high,” said Shaw adding that Singh “was a very sweet, very generous and caring person.”
A neighbor told New York Daily News that the couple fought constantly.
“The cops are always there. They were always having big fights. But she still came back to him,” the neighbor said recalling one incident which ended with Singh having to leave to the home in an ambulance.
The neighbor also described Loknath as a construction worker who was often seen sitting on the front steps of his house, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.
Cops had arrested Loknath for attacking Singh last September, and charged him with misdemeanor assault. A judge granted an order of protection barring Loknath from being near Singh until October 2019, but police say the couple ended up reconciling.
Also, the New York Daily News reported that Loknath had called his mother, who was unaware of Singh’s murder, and told her that he wanted his body to be cremated instead of being buried.
The couple leaves behind a 5-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter who Singh “loved very much and spent every penny on them. They were her world,” added Shaw.
Police say the investigation, which they consider to be a murder-suicide, is still underway.
According to a local non-profit specifically dedicated to domestic abuse in the Indian-Caribbean community, urged elected officials to dedicate more resources to prevent violence against women.
Shivana Jorawar of the advocacy organization, Jahajee Sisters, is quoted in timesledger.com saying, “This is the fifth time Jahajee Sisters has had to respond to the violent murder of an Indo-Caribbean woman in Queens. How can it be that in one community, the same headline seems to run over and over again? Stacy’s death is a call to action for all of us, including our elected officials and faith leaders, who we look to in times of need.”
A Gofundme page was started by a friend, in the first week following the horrific murder. “With the permission and support of Stacy’s family, we have established this GoFundMe campaign to provide financial assistance while allowing the family to grieve and mourn Stacy and make plans for the caretake of her 5 year old son and 1 year old daughter,” the dedicated website says, adding that “All the funds donated will be put towards the funeral expenses of Stacy and support of the two children. Any additional donations after the goal is reached will be placed into a fund that is setup by the family and will be used to provide for the two children left behind.”
The ‘Stacy Singh Memorial Fund’ goal of $10,000 goal has already been surpassed as of Jan. 15, reaching $14,028, as this went to print. Some 220 people had donated by that time. Those coming to the site expressed sorrow over the tragedy and concern for the children.
“From the moment I heard of this great loss of lives my heart has felt broken for all involved… my mother always says no matter what wrong your children do … a mothers love will never change. I pray that these two beautiful children always be loved respected and kept safe. I hope they will grow up to know that their parents loved them despite the selfish act that has taken place,” said a Naz Chan Shievdayal.
“Stacy story brought tears and alot of memories to me.i lost my 22year old daughter 10 years ago from a jealous fiancée similar to Stacy.RIP,” said Debbie Hardat.
“Stacy you were a wonderful mother, friend and co-worker. You will be missed, Rest In Peace my friend,” said Michelle Crane.
Pathaline Byrd said, “To the family: I am so sorry for your loss. Stacy was a beautiful woman, and she clearly adored her gorgeous children. I know she is already greatly missed. There are no words to express how much pain I feel for you all. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.”
Annirood Mackhrandilal said, “RIP, may God bless the children and the family who steps up and accept the challenge to parent these children so they can realized their dreams and live on.