WORCESTER, Mass. — For the last year and a half, 25 Investigates’ Kerry Kavanaugh has been closely following the murder of Amanda Dabrowski, who was stabbed multiple times inside a crowded Worcester restaurant. Now Amanda’s story and 25 Investigates’ year-long reporting on the case and events leading up to her July 2019 death are reaching a national audience.
On Tuesday, the Dr. Oz True Crime series will feature the case, elevating Amanda’s voice and that of other domestic violence victims. Amanda’s parents, Ed and Beth Dabrowski, hope that by sharing her story on national television other victims are inspired to reach out for help.
“We should never forget it happened because it happens all the time – daily; it has to stop. People have to be protected,” Amanda’s mother, Beth, told 25 Investigates following the taping of the Dr. Oz show.
The 31-year old Amanda was murdered July 3 of last year inside O’Connor’s Restaurant, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, Carlos Asencio. Since then, her parents have made it their mission to raise awareness about domestic violence.
“You can’t ignore it. It will escalate,” Beth said.
“We’re going to keep fighting until the day we die,” said Ed, Amanda’s father.
Reporting by 25 Investigates revealed the violence played out publicly in the middle of the crowded restaurant. Investigators said Asencio followed her there and snuck up on her while she was on her way to the restroom.
Police reports indicate she was stabbed repeatedly until staff and patrons heard screams and intervened. They held Asencio down until police arrived. Amanda was pronounced dead later that night in the hospital.
Police records reviewed by 25 Investigates show the July incident was not the first time police allege that she was attacked by her ex-boyfriend. Police said three months earlier, on Easter Sunday, Asencio broke into her home in Ayer in the middle of the night.
25 Investigates learned the home invasion occurred just days after Amanda broke off the relationship. Investigators said it was a violent struggle involving a stun gun and a knife.
“Amanda fought off her attacker, very valiantly and went to get help,” Beth recalled. “There are resources you have to speak up. Ask.”
After that Easter attack, Asencio, court documents show, headed north to Canada and fled to Mexico.
In the weeks that followed, Amanda did everything she could to protect herself. She sought therapy, a restraining order and moved back home with her parents.
Her parents continue to question why it wasn’t enough. They are demanding to know how Asencio, a fugitive, got back into the country. On that July night of her murder, neither Amanda nor authorities had any idea he was back.
“No day is particularly good. You may have some good moments within. But, each day, we are a day closer to get[ting] back together again,” said an emotional Ed Dabrowski.
“What do I say? When I go to work in the morning it’s ‘Bye, honey, I love you’ We try and make the best.”
Asencio underwent a mental health evaluation for several months. When the pandemic surged here in Massachusetts it slowed down court proceedings. There was a brief status hearing last week, but more than a year after Amanda’s death there is still no trial date. Asencio is due back in court in February.