Friends hold candlelight vigil for Flanders mom killed upstate

Brittany Rocco lights a candle at a memorial for Amy (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)
Brittany Rocco lights a candle at a memorial for Amy Bradstreet. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

To members of her Flanders community, Amy Bradstreet will be remembered as an angel.

When neighbor Meigan Rocco’s home burned down on Feb. 11, 2009, Ms. Bradstreet offered to temporarily move out of her house on Sylvan Avenue so Ms. Rocco and her family had a place to stay.

When Ms. Rocco learned Tuesday that Ms. Bradstreet, 44, had been killed this week, she organized a candlelight vigil Wednesday night in front of Ms. Bradstreet’s home. About 30 people gathered on the lawn, lit white candles, said prayers, shed tears and shared several fond memories they had of Ms. Bradstreet.

“Amy gave back to everybody,” Ms. Rocco said at Wednesday night’s vigil. “She would give you the shirt off her back.”

Melissa Frey of Hampton Bays had been friends with Ms. Bradstreet for over 10 years and they lived together for a year while Ms. Rocco’s family lived in Ms. Bradstreet’s house.

“Amy loved this house and being on the water,” Ms. Frey said. “She’d be so happy to know we’re all here.”

Stephen Schumejda, 31, a native of Riverhead, has been charged with murder in connection with the stabbing death of Ms. Bradstreet, his girlfriend and the mother of his two children. He was arrested Monday after police discovered Ms. Bradstreet’s body at the home they shared in Cazenovia, N.Y., a town about 17 miles southeast of Syracuse.

Ms. Bradstreet was a financial manager for an international management consulting business. The family was living upstate but still owned homes in Riverhead and Flanders. Prior to the vigil, a bouquet of flowers and candles were left on cinder block steps outside the Flanders home.

Neighbors said the house was damaged during Hurricane Sandy and has been vacant ever since.

Flanders resident Tamara Olson left white hydrangeas — Ms. Bradstreet’s favorite flowers — at the memorial set up on Ms. Bradstreet’s porch during the vigil and asked the crowd to not only keep Ms. Bradstreet and her children in their thoughts, butalso Mr. Schumejda.

After the vigil, Ms. Olson, who lives across the street from Ms. Bradstreet’s house, said she was shocked to learn Mr. Schumejda had been charged with Ms. Bradstreet’s murder because the couple always seemed to get along.

“Amy is a good girl,” Ms. Olson told the crowd. “None of this makes sense.”

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