Mother charged with stabbing son, daughter 200 times each (USA)
- This poor father has now lost all THREE of his children in traumatic
circumstances, and now he has also lost his wife (to prison)
although none of the news articles address HIS loss or mention
anything about emotional support or grief counselling.
But then, he is just a man and has no feelings worth worrying about.
Read it and weep.
Lionel Richards www.OzyDads.com
Mother charged with stabbing son, daughter 200 times each
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) A mother was charged with fatally
stabbing her 9-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter more than 200
times each inside their suburban Chicago home.
Tonya Vasilev, 34 a heavy bandage covering her left wrist
appeared in court Friday afternoon and answered the judge's
questions in a soft, shaking voice. The judge appointed a public
defender to represent her and ordered her held without bail.
The children's father, Nikolai Vasilev, discovered the bloody scene
Wednesday night when he returned to the house with a friend who had
been living with the family, prosecutor Richard Karwaczka said.
Vasilev spotted the boy, Christian, lying on the kitchen floor,
Karwaczka said. The father scooped him up and carried him to the
front door, where he called 911.
The girl, Grace, was found dead at the top of the stairs, the
"Right next to Grace was the defendant, Tonya, sitting there with a
knife," he said.
The mother was taken to the police station for questioning, where
Karwaczka said she admitted stabbing the children. She had what
appeared to be minor cuts on her hands, police said.
Emergency crews tried to resuscitate the boy when they arrived, but
couldn't save him, Hoffman Estates police Lt. Rich Russo said
Friday. Inside the home, he said, officers found several knives
believed to have been used to kill the children.
"It really doesn't get much worse than this," said Russo, who would
not discuss a possible motive for the killings.
The autopsies showed that both children tried to fight off their
attacker, he said.
The stabbings came five years after the couple's 3-month-old
daughter died in a fire at an Elk Grove Village town house where the
family then lived. The cause of the 2000 fire remains undetermined,
but foul play was never suspected, said Larry Hammar, deputy chief
of the Elk Grove Village Police.
Hammar said his department will investigate that fire again. The
mother was home at the time of the blaze.
Village police said at the time that Tonya Vasilev left the baby in
a carrier in the laundry room while she went to check on another of
her children. She noticed smoke coming from the window a short time
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
April 29, 2005
Boy's last words: `What's going on?'
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO, ANNIE SWEENEY AND DAN ROZEK Staff Reporters
They moved here with a mission -- to build a Christian community for
Bulgarians who had settled in Chicago.
Nikolai Vasilev was the pastor and his wife, Tonya, was the Sunday
school teacher. Together they nurtured an evangelical community in
the northwest suburbs and created their own family. They had three
children and survived the death of one of them in a 2000 fire.
Wednesday night, Nikolai came home to find his two remaining
children, a 9-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, stabbed to
death -- some 500 times -- and his wife bathed in blood, a source
close to the investigation said.
Tonya Vasilev, 34, has given statements to Hoffman Estates police
and was expected to be charged in the murders today, the source said.
Investigators believe 3-year-old Gracie was attacked first, around
8:30 p.m., and then her mother brought her to the second floor,
where her older brother, Christian, was watching television, the
source said, citing the mother's statement to police.
"The boy looks up, sees his sister all bloody, and asked the
mother, "What's going on? . . . The mother then attacked the boy.
The boy runs from her, flees to the first floor, where she catches
up with him, and she then alternates between attacking the boy and
Nikolai arrived home around 9:20 p.m. "He sees signs of life in the
9-year-old boy and tries to give him CPR, obviously in vain, and
then calls 911," the source said.
The source said it was not clear what set off the stabbing, but
added that the mother had been treated for mental illness for "some
Authorities said they are going to re-examine the 2000 fire, the
cause of which was never determined.
By most accounts the Vasilevs had few family members here. Those who
got to know them here were shocked at what happened inside the tidy
two-story house and said it was impossible for Tonya to have been
"This lady, this family, they deserve so much love, so much mercy,''
said a woman who knew the family through the Bulgarian Evangelical
Church of God New Life Church, which they founded in Des
Plaines. "They have very big hearts, and their hearts are open to
people's pain. They are much more than good people.''
Nikolai, 36, had recently decided to leave the Des Plaines church to
start his own congregation, said Stan Tanev, pastor of the Des
Plaines church. The split was amicable and because of a difference
in styles, including that Nikolai was going to preach in English,
Investigators were looking at this as a possible motive in the
attacks, the source said.
"The motive is bizarre. . . . The mother feared people in the new
religion were going to sexually molest these children,'' the source
Tanev, when asked about this, said the new congregation -- which was
still part of the Church of God -- included members of the church
whom Tonya already knew.
Tanev said the couple came to Chicago in 1995. They met while
attending a Bible college in the South and married in 1994. Tanev
said Nikolai left his native land in the early 1990s after the fall
of communism and came to the United States, where he knew he could
study theology and fulfill his dream of being a minister.
"That's what his calling was,'' said Tanev. "They left a comfortable
life there just because they felt called to minister to the
Tanev said Tonya's family was from North Carolina. Her calling, he
said, was to minister to children.
Together, the couple warmly welcomed members at the Des Plaines
church, said the woman who knew them through church. She did not
want her name used.
She said Tonya was particularly attentive to children. And she doted
on her own constantly, she said.
"She was like a little bird on her children,'' the woman said, her
eyes tearing up with each mention of their names. "[They were]
always clean. Always happy. Always with a lot of love.''
Christian was a third-grader at Schaumburg Christian School who
liked to play with the tools his father used as a carpenter. Friends
remember that Gracie was "sweet" and always smiling.
Tanev said the couple sought counseling after another child, 3-month-
old Gabrielle, died in 2000 in a fire in the family's Elk Grove
"I was right next to them. It was terrible,'' Tanev said. "She was
devastated. Little by little, they were overcoming.''
The fire started in the laundry room, and the infant was found in a
baby seat on top of a dryer. Tonya was home at the time but had left
the child unattended, Elk Grove Village Deputy Chief Larry Hammar
Hammar said there was no sign of foul play at the time and that
investigators focused on the furnace as the likely cause of the
blaze. But no exact cause was ever found and the manner of death was
never determined by the doctor who examined her body. Gabrielle's
case file was pulled for review early Thursday, a source said.
Knew of no problems
The family moved out of Elk Grove Village after the fire.
A family friend said there had been some recent strains in the
family, largely because of a college classmate of Nikolai's who had
been staying at the house.
Tanev said he was not aware of any problems. He said Tonya was the
only member of the church who did not speak Bulgarian, which might
have made her feel lonely. But neither he nor other members believe
she killed her children.
"I liked her from the first moment," the woman said. "She was full
Mother charged with stabbing son and daughter to death
By Joseph Ryan and Kara Spak Daily Herald Staff Writers
The mother of two children stabbed hundreds of times in their
Hoffman Estates home was charged today with two counts of first-
degree murder, authorities said.