BOSTON — Rep. James McGovern wants to know how and why a wanted man was able to get back into the country and allegedly murder his ex-girlfriend inside a Worcester Restaurant.
As 25 Investigates reported, the suspect, Carlos Asencio, had an active arrest warrant when he left Mexico and came back to the United States, eventually making his way to Massachusetts and murdering Amanda Dabrowski.
During an exclusive interview, McGovern told Boston 25 News anchor Kerry Kavanaugh, he fears a security breakdown at the border may have allowed Asencio to re-enter the country undetected.
"Somewhere something went wrong. The system did not work in this case," said McGovern, adding that the parents of the 31-year old Dabrowski deserve to know what went wrong.
Amanda was at O’Connor’s Restaurant, a popular Worcester establishment, for a book club meeting on July 3rd when, police say, Asencio tracked her down and stabbed her to death.
Some quick-thinking diners jumped into action to stop the attack and held the suspect until police arrived. He was arrested and charged with murder, armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery and other offenses. In July, a judge declared Asencio is mentally unfit for trial and was sent for evaluation.
For McGovern and the victim’s parents, Ed and Beth Dabrowski, the biggest question is: How did Asencio end up in Worcester in the first place?
“I think we have to make certain that some of the things that happened to her at the end of her life don’t happen to anyone else,” Ed Dabrowski told 25 Investigates during an exclusive July interview, adding that he and his wife want to make sure no other parents experience pain like theirs.
According to court documents, Dabrowski was the victim of a violent home invasion in the early morning of Easter Sunday. She fought off her attacker, who used a stun gun on her and threatened with a knife, before running to the Ayer Police Department for help. The police report indicates a masked individual, believed to be Asencio, broke into Amanda's home and tried to kill her. The two had recently broken up after dating only two months. But, according to the report, he did not take the break up well.
Within hours after the attack, investigators say, Asencio fled north to Vermont and crossed the border into Canada before boarding a flight to Mexico. That was his last know location, as of May.
“The [parents] deserve the truth. They deserve straight answers and we are going to push our government until we get those answers,” said McGovern, who along with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) days after Dabrowski’s murder asking how Asencio, a U.S. citizen, got back into the country when a warrant had been issued for his arrest. “Did he use his passport? Did he have a fake passport? How did he get back into the U.S.?” he added.
McGovern said he and his colleagues have reached out to the DHS several times, and though the agency has acknowledged receiving the letter they have not been able to provide answers.
"It is frustrating because it seems to me that obviously there are answers to this. I have to believe at this stage our government knows how he came back into this country," he asked.
25 Investigates also asked DHS for answers. Due to the ongoing homicide investigation, the agency said they could not comment. In a statement, they tell us that during the months that Asencio was on the run “up to 60% of our agents were pulled away from law enforcement operations to instead focus on the intake, processing, custody and care of migrants.”
The agency added that "More than 780,000 people have been encountered crossing the southern border so far this fiscal year."
McGovern tells 25 Investigates he also spoke with Canadian authorities about how Asencio, who was questioned twice by Canada’s border officials, was able to get into their country despite being in possession of a bulletproof vest with steel plates. At the time, McGovern points out, there was no arrest warrant.
The congressman says he plans to bring his quest for answers to the Homeland Security Committee.