BOSTON — The Suffolk County District Attorney has identified the mother and her two young children found dead at a Boston parking garage on Christmas Day.
Police were called to the Renaissance Park Garage in Boston just before 1:30 p.m. Christmas Day where they found the woman and two children unconscious on the sidewalk. They were taken to the hospital where all three were pronounced dead. DA Rachael Rollins has identified the woman as 40-year-old Erin Pascal of West Roxbury and her two children, Allison and Andrew.
“Today is an extremely sad day," Rollins said in a news conference Thursday. Authorities are in the early stages of the investigation but say evidence suggests the deaths are very likely double murder-suicide.
Wednesday’s incident marks the third, fourth, and fifth deaths at this parking garage in 2019. Northeastern University, which owns the Renaissance garage, said Wednesday it has “indefinitely blocked both pedestrian and vehicular access to the top two floors of the Renaissance Park garage. This restricted access will continue until a permanent solution is implemented. In addition, effective immediately, there will be 24-hour security staffing in place to monitor the Renaissance Park garage.”
Rollins spent much of the news conference Thursday discussing mental health and the resources available for those who may be struggling, “There’s help available and I sincerely hope people use it.” She also said her office is committed to ensuring the first responders have all of the resources they may need.
“I’m asking the people of Boston, right now, to pray for the family, it’s a tragic situation,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “I’m asking other people: if you’re in deep pain like that reach out to the Samaritans, reach out to the city. 311. Reach out to numbers and we’ll get you the numbers you need.”
The mayor added that while he has not yet had a chance to speak with the father of the two young children, he hopes to offer his condolences in the coming days and find out more about what caused this tragedy to take place on Christmas Day.
“Regardless of whatever pain people are in, oftentimes if that phone call is made, a certain tragedy doesn’t happen and in this particular case it’s just an awful time of year,” said Mayor Walsh, adding that he is asking the people of Boston to pray for the family.
“I’m asking the people of Boston right now to pray for the family, it’s a tragic situation."
The district attorney is calling on Northeastern to make changes to the garage after this year’s suicides there. She said she’s been asking the school to address the issue for weeks.
“I don’t know what else needs to happen in order for this to be handled or taken more seriously,” Rollins said.
Northeastern said earlier this fall, it put additional security in place at three parking garages, including the location of Wednesday’s family tragedy. After that, the university put up temporary barriers on the top floors of the garage. Mayor Walsh also acknowledged recent calls for increased safety measures around the Renaissance Garage.
“Certainly we’ll have a conversation with Northeastern about making sure - not just Northeastern, I think all open-air, any type of garages with open spaces like that,” Mayor Walsh said. "But I think the bigger issue is that if anyone is having thoughts that [are] going to harm them or their family, make a phone call.”
Pascal worked in corporate communications for Sanofi Genzyme in Cambridge for over six years, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her most recent position with the biotechnology company was director of corporate social responsibility and community relations, a position she took in October. Prior to that, she worked as director of corporate communications for the company.
A spokesperson for Sanofi Genzyme released a statement to Boston 25 News regarding the tragic incident:
Our hearts are with the family.— Ashleigh Koss, Sanofi Genzyme Spokesperson
Pascal previously worked in corporate communications for Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Genzyme, and also in public relations for Milton Hospital, according to her LinkedIn profile. She began her career as a reporter for The Providence Journal after graduating from Brown University in 2001, the profile said.
The family deaths stunned neighbors who live near Pascal.
“I’ve not seen much activity. It seems pretty quiet over there,” said Seth Tenenbaum.
He could not believe what had happened.
“The poor kids in the family that’s left to pick up the pieces,” Tenenbaum said. “It’s one thing to harm yourself, but then to harm people that are defenseless, there’s no words.”
After speaking at a press conference on Thursday, DA Rollins released a full statement on the alleged double murder-suicide:
You are not alone. If you or someone you know is struggling, know there is help. There are local and national resources available.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. Press #1 if you are a veteran.
- The Samaritans Statewide Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-877-870-4673.
- The Trevor Helpline is available 24/7 at 866-488-7386, Specifically for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth and young adults.
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Massachusetts
- Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention
- Hotlines available across the state of Massachusetts
- Massachusetts resources
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