NYC woman decapitated by estranged husband, who also slit 5-year-old daughter’s throat and hanged himself – on day she planned to file for order of protection

Their Harlem neighbors saw the perfect couple: The gleeful dad hoisting the little girl onto his shoulders, the costumed mom and their 5-year-old daughter side by side on Halloween, the daily smiles and the small talk.

The cops inside the family’s condo after a 911 call saw something unspeakably different: Wife Jennifer Schlecht lying dead on the bloody bathroom floor, her decapitated head in her lap. Her lifeless daughter Abayesh, with a gash so deep to her throat that she was left headless, inside a gore-spattered bedroom.

And their killer, deranged dad Yonathan Tedla, hanging from a rope tied to his child’s door on Wednesday night after making good on his threats to end Schlecht’s life before she could end their faltering marriage.

Jennifer Schlecht and Yonathan Tedla are pictured in an undated photo.

Jennifer Schlecht and Yonathan Tedla are pictured in an undated photo. (Obtained by Daily News)

“The last time we talked to our daughter was on Sunday,” the slain woman’s father Kenneth Schlecht told the Daily News Thursday. “She was in tears, said her husband had indicated that if she served him with divorce papers he would ruin her or take them all out. Which was apparently what he did.”

The devastated father, 75, said the couple’s marital strife began after the birth of their daughter in September 2014.

[More New York] ‘He promised her he’d change’ — slain Queens newlywed had order of protection against violent husband who also killed himself »

“His behavior toward her changed pretty dramatically when they had a child,” said the North Carolina dad as he drove north toward Manhattan and the bodies of his daughter and granddaughter. Tedla, 46, who was originally from Ethiopia, had threatened his wife on several occasions when she mentioned divorce, recalled Kenneth Schlecht.

Jennifer Schlecht

Jennifer Schlecht (Obtained by New York Daily News)

But Jennifer “didn’t want to pull her husband away from the child,” and the couple stayed together even as the relationship continued to sour and the wife struggled with her choice — finally deciding too late that she needed to get away, said Schlecht.

Kenneth Schlecht and his son spent much of Wednesday trying to contact Jennifer, 42, a former Peace Corps member currently working for the United Nations Foundation on international emergency responses. She was determined to obtain an order of protection that day after her effort a day earlier was thwarted by Election Day closings of the city’s courts, according to her dad.

But she never made it before a judge, according to a court spokesman, and never contacted her nervous family. Police, summoned by a 911 call from her worried brother, arrived at the family’s third-floor home at 9:18 p.m. to find the three bodies and put together the gruesome sequence of events inside the unhappy home.

A 4- to 5-inch serrated knife found inside the apartment was identified as the murder weapon, sources told The News. The killer left behind no confession or explanation for the murderous spree, the source added.

A friend of Tedla expressed shock at the violent demise of the family.

“He didn’t have to do that,” said pal Raheem Anderson. “If he really felt like that, take your own life and go away. That’s really a coward move. God will never forgive you for something like that.”

Stunned neighbors described the couple as outwardly happy, with neither husband nor wife showing any signs of stress — marital or otherwise — during their eight years inside the upscale four-story brownstone on W. 121st St.

“I’m still asking God why,” said Timothy Harris, 37, who often saw the family patriarch jogging. “When you saw them, they were a happy couple. Funny dude, always smiling, always had his daughter up on his shoulders. They were a beautiful couple. I still don’t understand what happened.”

But there were warning signs that went unseen: In 2016, Schlecht was granted a temporary restraining order against her husband because he was threatening and harassing her, sources said — although cops were never summoned to the home.

A family court case against her husband that same year was ultimately dismissed when Schlecht stopped pursuing it, a spokesman for the courts said Thursday.

The doomed couple met at Columbia University about a decade ago, when she was studying for her master’s degree in social work and public health and Tedla was working there as an IT freelancer. He operated a pair of businesses from an E. 129th apartment, a data tech company known as Qvertex and the IT business Dimas Systems.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: