WORCESTER, Mass. — Amanda Dabrowski was trying to reclaim her life.
A violent home invasion in April left the once-adventurous 31-year old physically and emotionally scarred, and too afraid to leave her parent’s home.
But on the evening of July 3rd she took a chance and decided to join a book club meeting at O’Connor’s Restaurant in Worcester. That is where she was viciously stabbed to death allegedly by her ex-boyfriend.
For weeks, 25 has been examining the circumstances that lead to Dabrowski’s tragic death.
Our investigation found evidence that suggests authorities could have prevented her murder.
We poured over dozens of court and police documents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and contacted federal authorities to get answers.
Boston 25 News anchor Kerry Kavanaugh has also remained in touch with Dabrowski’s heartbroken family, who is fighting for answers about what authorities knew about her attacker and when.
“She was full of life....so full of life," Dabrowski’s father, Ed, told Kavanaugh. “She enjoyed life and lived life to the fullest.”
“Didn’t take the break-up well”
Documents obtained by 25 Investigates reveal Dabrowski was living in fear – in fear of Carlos Asencio. The 28-year old software engineer from Nashua, NH was a co-worker whom she dated briefly.
Shortly after she broke off the relationship, Dabrowski was the victim of a violent home invasion. Court records show Asencio “didn’t take the break-up well.” Dabrowski suspected Asencio was the “masked intruder” who on Easter morning broke into her home in Ayer. According to the documents, the intruder “tased” her, tried “strangling her” and “took out a handgun and pointed it at her.”
Within hours of the attack, authorities say Asencio took off heading north to Vermont and crossing into Canada. From there, they say he boarded a plane in Montreal that was bound for Mexico.
“We have to make certain that some of the things that happened to her at the end of her life, they cannot happen to anyone else,” said Dabrowski’s father.
25 Investigates has uncovered a trail of documents that show Dabrowski believed her ex-boyfriend was out of harm her.
Cries for help
On May 2nd, two weeks after the home invasion, she got a restraining order against Asencio. Two days later, police records show, Dabrowski personally went to the Webster Police Department to report a “concerning email” she believed was sent by Asencio. That day, she told police “She does not feel safe.”
She reported a second threatening email on May 18th to Webster Police.
Later, her parents say, they called police when a drone was spotted flying over their Webster home, where Dabrowski moved following the April home invasion.
“She was a fighter. She was feisty, and she didn’t let anything go,” Ed Dabrowski said.
Her father now wants to know who was fighting for his daughter when she asked for help.
After the home invasion, the Middlesex County District Attorney issued a warrant for Asencio arrest and notified federal authorities, including U.S. Marshalls, the Department of Justice and Customs and Border Patrol.
That active warrant should have triggered an arrest if Asencio attempted to return to the United States. It’s unclear how or when Asencio returned to the country. Following Dabrowski’s murder, federal authorities launched an investigation to determine how he avoided capture.
“This doesn’t make sense,” said Ed Dabrowski, fighting back tears. “Someday somebody will explain it to us but right now we can’t comprehend.”
Two days after her murder, the family made a discovery that all but confirmed that Asencio was monitoring Dabrowski’s every move prior to her death. Police records show a cell phone was reported duct taped to the bottom of Dabrowski’s car. Sources close to the investigation told 25 Investigates that Asencio was likely using the phone’s GPS to track her.
“We’ll just fight for her so that it'll make somebody else's life better, easier and not as unfair as it was to her,” said her father
Another thing Dabrowski’s parents say was unfair was the way she was treated by her employer at the time of the home invasion. The day after the attack, they say, she was terminated from her job at Bristol Myers Squibb in Devens.
Though the pharmaceutical giant will not comment on personnel matters, they confirm to 25 Investigates that contracts for Dabrowski and Asencio ended in that days after the Easter home invasion.
Now her parents vow to fight for better employment protections for victims of domestic violence.
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