Indian American Woman is First Homicide Victim of Year in New York City
A few hours before Stacy Loknath's body was discovered, her husband Vishwananad was found hanging from a tree.
An Indian American woman became the first homicide victim of the year in New York City on Jan. 1. According to the police, 26-year-old Stacy Loknath was found face down with multiple stab wounds in her torso inside her home on 103rd Avenue near 114th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens.
A few hours before she was found on New Years Day, her husband, 42-year old Vishwananad Loknath, was found hanging from a tree in Forest Park, about 2 km from their home, New York Daily News reported. They are survived by two children — a 5-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter.
The Stacy Singh Memorial Fund, a Gofundme page started by a friend, surpassed its $10,000 goal to provide financial aid for the children’s caretaking as of Jan. 17, reaching $14,148 with 222 donors. Stacy Singh is the victim’s maiden name.
As per accounts from friends and family present on New Year’s Eve, Vishwananad’s death is being linked to Stacy’s murder. The police said the couple were ringing in 2018 by partying hard and doing cocaine at a Queen’s restaurant. Friends said they argued all night, and at one point, their argument became so loud that they were thrown out of the club.
Romain Shaw, Stacy’s brother-in-law, told the New York Daily News that Loknath was abusive. “He was very abusive to her, but she stayed with him no matter what because they had two kids together. She was hoping for him to change, but he never did,” Shaw said.
According to Shaw, Loknath drank heavily and used cocaine at the New Year’s Eve party they attended. “He was so drunk, so very drunk. He always beat her up when he went home high,” said Shaw. A neighbor told New York Daily News: “The cops are always there. They were always having big fights. But she still came back to him.” The neighbor told the publication of an incident that ended with her having to leave the home in an ambulance.
Loknath was charged with misdemeanor assault last September for attacking his wife. A judge granted an order of protection barring him from being near his wife until October 2019. The police said the couple ended up reconciling.
Loknath had called his mother, who was unaware of Stacy’s murder, and told her that he wanted his body to be cremated instead of being buried, the report added.
Police peg this as a murder-suicide, but investigation is still underway.
The murder marked the second consecutive year that the city’s first murder of the year happened in Queens, the report added.