Riverside murder victim described as ‘selfless’ mom who tried to hide from boyfriend

When he arrived home to learn he was locked out of the Riverside home he shared with his girlfriend, Bayron Fajardo-Gonzalez found a different way in.

The 33-year-old house painter from Guatemala walked around to the window of a bedroom in the rear of the house, occupied by the 9-year-old daughter of his girlfriend, Tania Fox.  He smashed the window and made his way inside, a witness and family members of Ms. Fox told the News-Review Tuesday.

Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez then made his way through the Ludlam Avenue house, where a tenant saw that he was carrying a large knife and calling out for Ms. Fox.

He would find her hiding in an attic, the witness said.

Southampton Town Police arrested Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez shortly after 11 p.m. Monday and charged him with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Ms. Fox, a 45-year-old mother of four, who worked as a cook’s helper at the nearby Head Start program.

Nearly a dozen friends and family members gathered outside the home Tuesday afternoon, where Ms. Fox lived with her youngest daughter, a son and Mr.Fajardo-Gonzalez, whom she began dating within the past year. She also had two tenants on the property. 

“She was just so selfless,” said Myrka Fox, 22, her eldest daughter. “She went above and beyond for everybody else. She put everyone before her.”

“She was a hard worker for whatever she had,” said Miguel Rivera, the victim’s uncle.

Mr. Rivera said he only learned Tuesday that his daughter may have been the victim of past instances of domestic violence at the hands of Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez. Myrka Fox, who no longer lived with her mom, said she had no knowledge of any serious issues in the relationship. 

“You make plans with this person and it all gets cut short,” she said.

Ms. Fox was pronounced dead at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead soon after the incident.

The cracked bedroom window where the suspect allegedly entered the home. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Myrka Fox set up a gofundme page to raise funds for her mother’s funeral. She said it was her mother’s desire to be sent back to her native Honduras upon her death. The initiative had raised more than $8,000 in its first eight hours Tuesday.

“My mother was loved,” Ms. Fox said. “She was all smiles.”

Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez, 33, was arraigned virtually at Southampton Town Justice Court Monday afternoon before Judge Barbara Wilson. 

Judge Wilson, Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Kearon, court-appointed defense attorney Daniel Russo and a Spanish interpreter all participated in the arraignment  remotely by computer and were not actually in the court room. 

A reporter and a court officer were the only people inside the Justice Court, along with court staff members. 

Mr. Russo entered a plea of not guilty and said his client would not be testifying. 

Ms. Kearon said Mr.Fajardo-Gonzalez “is charged with the intentional murder of his live-in girlfriend, having stabbed her repeatedly, causing her death.” She said Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez made an oral confession to police that was recorded on video, that he admitted to the crime in five written pages of oral testimony to detectives and that police have two supplemental reports from Southampton Town Police of Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez orally admitting to the stabbing.

Ms. Kearon asked that Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez be held without bail and Judge Wilson agreed. 

Mr. Russo did not offer a request for bail. 

The case is scheduled to go before a grand jury on Aug. 19, which could result in more or upgraded charges for Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez. 

Mr. Fajardo-Gonzalez is due back in town court on Aug. 14, beginning at 9:30 a.m. That appearance will also be conducted virtually.