‘You don’t know how everybody is.’ Neighbors express grief and shock over apparent triple murder-suicide in Danbury
A woman and three children from Danbury are dead as police investigate an apparent triple murder-suicide.
Police say the woman, 36-year-old Sonia Loja, strangled her three children before taking her own life.
Authorities responded to 10 Whaley St. around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, after a distressed caller made a request for a welfare check. Inside, officers found the bodies of three children - Junior Panjon, 12, Joselyn Panjon, 10, and Jonael Panjon, 5.
"While conducting a further check of the property, they found a deceased female in the shed in the backyard,” said Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour.
Officials say the children appear to have been strangled. Loja died from asphyxiation due to hanging.
Neighbors say they are shocked that this happened.
"Four people dead. In my neighborhood. Kind of a hard pill to swallow, you know?" said Ralph Braugher.
Braugher lives two houses down. He says he never saw any warning signs before tragedy struck.
"When I get off work, they're playing in the yard, laughing, riding their bikes. Nothing out of the ordinary, believe me. You'd never think nothing like that would happen,” said Braugher.
City officials are promising to make extra mental health and counseling services available and encouraging residents to take advantage.
Neighbors say the tragedy shows just how serious mental health struggles can be.
"You don't know what's going on. You don't know how everybody is. It's crazy, I would never believe something like this would happen in a peaceful neighborhood like this. It's still blowing my mind,” said one neighbor.
Police say their investigation is ongoing and autopsies are pending. They say two other adults live in the home but were not there when police arrived.
Danbury Public Schools, where two of the three children were students, released a statement.
“Our thoughts are with everyone in the Danbury community impacted by this tragedy and we are grieving with you. Losing children to violence is becoming far too common in our nation and events such as these shine a light on the challenges communities face, specifically around mental health, that leave so many people vulnerable.”
For anyone who needs help dealing with this tragedy, there is a pupil services team at Morris Street School and Westside Middle School Monday from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.