NEW BEDFORD— A young mother and her infant child were found dead in their apartment here Friday in a primarily Guatemalan neighborhood lined with multifamily homes.
New Bedford police are investigating the unattended deaths of the 19-year-old woman and her daughter, who was less than a year old, said Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the Bristol district attorney’s office. On Friday night, Miliote said the deaths were not considered suspicious, but authorities released few details.
New Bedford police were unavailable for comment, and a spokeswoman for the state Department of Children and Families said Friday night that the agency is investigating the matter.
Nicholas Gabriel, who was at the scene and said he is a friend of the baby’s father, identified the woman as Reyna Ramos and the child as Melisa Ramos.
Gabriel said the father, Samuel Yxcuna, discovered Reyna and the couple’s child dead in a running shower in their second-floor apartment.
Gabriel had talked with Yxcuna, who was seated on a nearby stoop crying with his head in his hands.
Reyna and Melisa had been in the bathroom for a long time when Yxcuna knocked on the door to check on them, Gabriel said. After he received no response, Gabriel recounted, Yxcuna burst in and found the mother and baby dead in the shower.
Reyna Ramos emigrated to the United States from her native Guatemala five years ago, according to Gabriel. He said that he and his wife were friends with Ramos and Yxcuna, who is also from Guatemala, and they knew the family through their church.
“She was a beautiful girl who sang with the church and worked with the children,” Gabriel said. “This was a beautiful family.”
He also said Melisa was born on June 15.
Investigators remained at 34 Bullard St. Friday night. Crime scene tape blocked off the front of the house as children filled the neighborhood, playing and riding bikes.
Shontell Thomas, who lives across the street, said she was not close to Ramos, but knew her as a friendly and outgoing person.
“She would always come out and wave and would give out [soda] cans for the poor neighbors to turn in for money,” Thomas said.
Debora Coelho, a New Bedford city councilor who grew up on Bullard Street, said she was caring for her parents Friday when police and emergency responders pulled up to the house next door shortly after noon.
“It’s really upsetting,” Coelho said. “It’s kind of devastating because you look at your neighbors like family. I’ve lived here all my life; it’s really heart-breaking.”