For their neighbors in Harlem, Jennifer Schlecht, her husband Yonathan Tedla and their five-year-old daughter were a perfect, loving family.
But according to the woman's loved ones, the facade of family harmony concealed a marriage in turmoil affected by violence and threats.
On Wednesday, that façade broke when the police entered the family's apartment on West 121st and found the bodies of Schlecht, 42, Tedla, 46, and their daughter, Abaynesh.
Detectives believe that Tedla beheaded his wife with a knife in the bathroom, cut their daughter's throat in the girl's bedroom and then took his own life by hanging up.
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Police say Yonathan Tedla (right), 46, beheaded his wife, Jennifer Schlecht (left), 42, and cut the throat of their five-year-old daughter, Abaynesh (center), before hanging himself
The massacre took place when Schlecht and Tedla went through a divorce procedure
Family friends bring flowers to a growing improvised monument on 151 West 121st St
A woman sees a bouquet of flowers left behind at the brownstone of the victims in Harlem Friday
Neighbor LaNora Williams-Clark covered her face during the mourning on Friday
A NYPD officer keeps watch at the apartment building where the double suicide took place this week
Schlecht's father, Kenneth Schlecht, 75, told it New York Times that his daughter made several attempts to leave Tedla in the course of their restless seven-year marriage, but he refused to let her go and tore divorce papers every time.
"He told her he would destroy her or take them all down," her father said. "She didn't know if he would continue with the threats."
The creepy nature of the double suicide came as a complete shock to those who knew the couple.
Tedla, an IT specialist at Columbia University, was universally described as a & # 39; happy & # 39; man who always had a smile on his face while jogging in the neighborhood every day or carrying his daughter on his shoulders.
& # 39; He always looked very, very happy, & # 39; a neighbor told the time.
But according to his father-in-law, Tedla was offensive to his daughter, and the last time she spoke to her family last Sunday, she said she was determined to leave her after receiving a protection order.
He remembered that his daughter was crying and was a & # 39; basket. & # 39 ;.
Schlecht told her father during that phone call that she was planning to go to court on Tuesday to get the protection order against Tedla, but the courts were closed that day for election day.
The family had not heard from Schlecht for four days, which according to Kenneth was different from her.
All day on Wednesday, concerned family members called her number several times, but there was no answer. Concerned for her safety, they asked for a welfare check after 9 p.m., which led to the horrific discovery at the family's apartment on 151 West 121st Street.
Since the news of the tragedy broke out early Thursday morning, distraught friends and neighbors of the family have brought bouquets of flowers and candles to add to a growing memorial to bending down the brownstone.
Horror inside: the building on West 121st Street in Manhattan became the site of a double suicide on Wednesday in which a father beheaded his wife, murdered their daughter and then killed themselves
A sobbing woman is seen outside the building in Harlem on Thursday morning
NYPD investigators appear on Thursday at the scene of the Harlem massacre last night
Officers are seen as evidence bags from the house of Schlecht and Tedla
Tedla was discovered in one bedroom, his wife in the bathroom and their child in another bedroom, according to a police press release. The mother and daughter both had a neck trauma.
The New York Daily News reported, stating unmentioned sources, that Schlecht was found beheaded, with her severed head in her lap.
Her daughter got a cut so deep in her neck that she was partially beheaded.
The father of the five-year-old was found hanging on a rope tied to a bedroom door.
The police grabbed a knife, presumably the murder weapon, from the scene.
Tedla and Schlecht went through divorce proceedings and had to appear in court a few hours before the heinous murders.
Schlecht's brother contacted the authorities that evening and asked to check his sister after she had not reached her by telephone.
Kenneth Schlecht, Jennifer's father, tells the Daily News that the last time he spoke to his daughter was last Sunday and she was in tears.
& # 39; She said her husband had indicated that if she gave him divorce papers, he would spoil or take her out, which apparently what he did, & # 39; he said.
Jennifer and Yonathan Tedla, an immigrant from Ethiopia, met in the early years at Columbia University, where she attended graduate school and worked as an IT technician.
According to Kenneth, Jennifer and Yonathan & # 39; s rather happy marriage started to fall apart when they welcomed their daughter five years ago.
Around the time Abaynesh turned two, Jennifer received a protection order against her husband, but decided to stay with him because she didn't want her daughter to grow up without a father.
The woman, presumably a relative or friend, seemed inconsolable and sought comfort from a man outside the crime scene
There was a heavy police presence in and around the building where the slaughter took place. Children's drawings are glued to a window on the second floor.
She said she was planning to go to court on Tuesday to get their protection order against Yonathan, but the courts were closed that day for election day.
Neighbors described Tedla tot ABC 7 NY as a kind and friendly man who loved his wife and daughter.
The couple's neighbor Ruben Natal-San Miguel told DailyMail.com in an interview that he knew the family and saw the husband almost every other day.
& # 39; They were just a normal, everyday family, & # 39; he said and described them as & # 39; lovely & # 39 ;.
Natal-San Miguel said he had seen the parents treat their daughter or treat them on Halloween and decorated their pavement with cobwebs for the holidays.
& # 39; They were part of the community, they were involved in the block association & # 39 ;, he said.
The Daily News reported that in 2016 Schlecht received a temporary restraining order against her husband because he threatened her.
Schlecht (depicted kneeling in a white blouse) has been working for 15 years on humanitarian problems affecting women all over the world
Earlier this year, Schlecht (second row from below) was appointed as senior advisor for preparedness and response to emergencies at the humanitarian organization Family Planning 2020
Schlecht obtained a bachelor in anthropology and a master in population and family
A tribute tweeted by Family Planning 2020 was: & # 39; Jennifer devoted her entire career to advocating women and girls. We will all remember her life – and the thousands of lives she enriched – instead of the terrible way she died & # 39;
According to her LinkedIn page, Schlecht served as a senior advisor for preparedness and response to emergencies with the humanitarian partnership Family Planning 2020.
Beth Schlachter, executive director of FP2020, sent a statement to DailyMail.com about the tragedy.
& # 39; Jennifer Schlecht devoted her entire career to ensuring that women and girls have access to the best possible medical care in crisis situations, including family planning and other reproductive health care & # 39 ;, it was said. & # 39; Recently she was a vital part of the FP2020 family at the United Nations Foundation. She was a leader in family planning and humanitarian response and chose to work from New York so that she could have more time with her sweet daughter.
& # 39; She was happy to tell us about the first day of her kindergarten and the clothes she had picked out herself. In addition to a worshiping mother, her contribution to the lives of women and girls living in crisis situations is extraordinary.
& # 39; It is incomprehensible that she would die under such cruel circumstances. But we will all remember her for her life – and the thousands of lives she enriched – instead of the terrible way she died. We are completely destroyed. & # 39;
Schlecht, one of the three children in her family, graduated from Boston University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology and in 2004 obtained a master's degree in population and family health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
According to her online profile, Schlecht has worked for 15 years on international aid and development, aimed at improving family planning for women and girls in crisis areas.
Last month Schlecht gave a presentation at the Woodrow Wilson Center about reproductive care for female refugees.
Schlecht and Tedla welcomed their daughter, Abaynesh, in November 2014. Her name is derived from an Amharic word translated as & you are the Nile & # 39 ;.
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