Friends of Worcester fatal stabbing victim mourn loss of 'loving mother'

Friends of Worcester fatal stabbing victim mourn loss of 'loving mother'

WORCESTER, Mass. — A man wanted for stabbing a 34-year-old woman to death in Worcester has been arrested, according to police.

Thomas Bergstrom, 36, turned himself in at the Blackstone Police Department Friday morning.

Police responded to a call about a stabbing on Lapierre Street around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and found the victim with multiple stab wounds in a bedroom. The victim was transported to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

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The victim has been identified by police as Jennifer Vazquez-Rivera, who police described as being Bergstrom's ex-girlfriend.

Worcester Police had sought Bergstrom in connection with the stabbing until he turned himself in following a manhunt.

Bergstrom was arrested in another, separate violent case in January, where he was accused of raping a woman at knifepoint and charged with aggravated rape, kidnapping and assault and battery.

Scott Errico, a friend of Vazquez-Rivera, says he and other friends of the victim are devastated about what happened.

"It’s something you don’t imagine that’s going to happen to somebody you know," said Errico. "It’s just a tragedy. She was just a dedicated, loving mother who gave the world to her kids, and for this to be taken from her children like that in such a mean and violent way, it’s horrible."

A witness at the scene told police she heard the victim scream and immediately ran to her apartment. The witness described seeing a man matching the suspect's description holding a knife and running away.

Investigators believe Bergstrom had taken a cab to Vazquez-Rivera a half hour before the stabbing happened.

"I do know they were still in touch at times," said Worcester Lieutenant Sean Murtha. "It’s possible he was let in, it’s possible he wasn’t. Any time there’s a brutal, serious crime like this we obviously put very high priority on finding whoever did it."

Errico says his girlfriend has been close to Vazquez-Rivera since childhood, and says her friends had worried about Bergstrom for a while.

"People were saying to get away from him and probably, maybe that’s what she was trying to do," said Errico.

Bergstrom is set to be arraigned sometime on Monday. He's facing a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, but that could be upgraded to murder.