Sonia Loja was a Connecticut mother who police say murdered her three young children before taking her own life.
“We can now confirm the identities of the deceased as Sonia Loja, 36, Junior Panjon, 12, Joselyn Panjon, 10, and Jonael Panjon, 5,” Danbury Police Detective Capt. Mark Williams wrote in a statement on the Facebook Police Department Page.
“MS. Loja is the mother of three children and they all lived at 10 Whaley Street.”
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According to Williams, “All the children appear to have died from strangulation, and the assumed cause of death in the mother is suffocation by hanging.”
The New York Post reported that the children’s father spotted them in bedrooms with cords, possibly electric wires, around their necks.
The statement continued: “Pending an official autopsy, preliminary results indicate that Ms Loja strangled her three children before killing herself. However, this is still an active investigation.”
Williams noted, “Investigators had learned that the mother and children were living at the residence with two other adults who were not present when police arrived. She and other extended family members have been contacted and informed of the incident.”
Pedro Panjon is Loja’s husband and the father of the children.
“I feel terrible,” he told the New York Post. “There was nothing wrong with the way Sonia was acting” before the murder-suicide.
A relative described to the Post what happened when Panjon, a landscaper and carpenter, came home
“When Pedro came home from work, the kids would run to his car and say, ‘Dad! Yay! My daddy came back!, especially the girl Joselyn,” relative Digna Naulaguari told the Post.
“They would help him bring his things in, like his lunch box and all. On Wednesday he came home and the door was locked, but the door was never locked. When the kids didn’t come out… his heart broke,” Naulaguari told the Post.
According to the News Times, officials responded to the home for a “welfare check” and found a man who was “distraught and crying.”
Loja was found dead in a backyard shed, the newspaper reported.
On Facebook, Loja filled her page with pictures of her children. “My two loves,” she wrote in 2013.
According to the New York Post, on the day of her death, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, Loja, 36, “called the parents of about 10 children to tell them not to wean their children.”
“Yesterday morning, just before 10, a guy came to drop his kid off and she came to the door and said, ‘No, I’m sorry I can’t look after him today,'” Loja’s neighbor Elvis Espinal told the Post.
“She explained that she had called everyone else, all the other parents of the kids she’s watching, and she couldn’t reach anyone to tell them not to come that day.”
According to The New York Post, Loja left her husband a suicide note that read, “Sorry Pedro, I’m taking my kids.”
The Post reported that Loja “had long battled depression and cried for days over the closure of her illicit childcare business.”
“Her job was babysitting, but the city closed her shop, they said it was illegal. She wasn’t working,” Naulaguari told The Post.
According to the Hartford Courant, “After receiving an anonymous complaint, the State Office of Early Childhood investigated an unlicensed child care business at Loja’s address.”
According to Williams’ statement, “The mayor’s office and the city’s police, fire, health, education, emergency management and health departments, along with Nuvance Health, have coordinated their efforts to provide services to the family and friends of the deceased.”
He noted: “Because this is also an emotionally damaging incident for first responders, services have been extended to public safety personnel who responded at the scene. An autopsy on the deceased is scheduled for this morning at the Chief Medical Examiner’s office in Farmington, CT.”
Mayor Dean Esposito, who responded to the scene to offer support, issued a statement on William’s press release, saying, “A truly horrific event occurred in our city yesterday and we mourn the tragic loss of life. Mental health and counseling services will be available in the coming days in partnership with Danbury Public Schools and the City of Danbury. Our community mourns the innocent lives that have been taken from us. We will get through this together.”
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