Suicide Pact Seen in NJ Train Deaths
May. 14, 2002
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ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) _ Addicted to drugs and thrown out of their apartment, a young couple walked hand-in-hand onto the railroad tracks in an apparent suicide pact and embraced moments before an Amtrak train struck and killed them.
Damien J. Conners, 26, and Theresa E. LaMarca, 22, believed there was no other way out, the woman's relatives said Tuesday. They said the couple were heavily addicted to drugs, including painkillers and possibly heroin.
Police said it was clear from witness accounts that the couple deliberately stepped in front of the train and waited for it to him them Monday afternoon. They had left their wallets on the station platform.
``They were holding hands and they walked into the path of the train,'' Amtrak spokeswoman Karen Dunn said. The engineer ``didn't have much time to react.''
Conners' family declined to speak to reporters. But LaMarca's family said the couple had been evicted two weeks ago from their apartment because they could not pay the rent.
``They got on the tracks and felt that was the only way out, that they had reached the end of the rope,'' said Barbara LaMarca, the woman's mother.
The woman's mother said the two left no suicide note.
John LaMarca, the woman's father, said police told him the couple did $200 to $300 a day worth of drugs.
He said the couple broke into his house April 29 and stole nine checks, the father said. He said he did not know the checks were missing until Thursday when he learned five had been cashed for a total of $5,000. He put a hold on the remaining four.
Theresa LaMarca received a $58,000 settlement from auto accident in which she suffered serious injuries. The couple quickly burned through that money, the father said.
LaMarca had studied computer science and Conners recently worked as a butcher, LaMarca's relatives said. The couple met less than a year ago.
Barbara LaMarca said she last saw her daughter at Christmastime. She said her daughter would not return her calls or letters.
``I would send her cards and let her know we were here and that we loved her,'' she said. ``We would have given her another rope to help her, to bring her back.''