By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – The sudden deaths of a woman and her school-age daughter shocked Shrewsbury last month.
Hitting close to home for some, school administrators and individual counselors quickly set to work acknowledging the tragic events and promising support for any individuals suddenly needing counseling.
“On behalf of the school district, our deepest sympathies go out to the surviving husband/father and son/brother,” Schools Superintendent Joseph Sawyer wrote in a statement shared publicly.
Deaths shock Shrewsbury, prompt ‘crisis team’ response
A 49-year-old Shrewsbury woman and her 12-year-old daughter were found dead, March 19, within their family home at 18 Ladyslipper Dr.
While the cause of death is still under investigation, the identity of the woman has been revealed to be Jihyun Lee. The daughter’s identity is still unknown. But the two are survived by Lee’s husband and son.
Sawyer confirmed with that statement that the daughter was not a student in the Shrewsbury Public Schools. Her brother, however, attends Shrewsbury High School (SHS).
School officials emphasized, in the days following March 19, that crisis teams were in place at both the high school and Sherwood Middle School to provide support to any school community members needing it.
“I write to you today with a heavy heart as I know we are all deeply saddened by the tragic event that occurred on Friday,” Sherwood Principal Jonathon Kelly wrote in his own email statement to Sherwood families. “I know that as a community we will rise up and support each other through this difficult time.”
His sentiments were echoed by SHS principal Todd Bazydlo.
“While we are all saddened by this news, I know we will support each other through this deeply challenging event,” he wrote.
Investigation into sudden fatalities continues
Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early remains in charge of the investigation into these Shrewsbury deaths.
After holding a press conference, March 19 and confirming the name of the 49-year-old mother found dead, Early had since stayed relatively silent on the topic of this investigation as of March 27.
Administrators discuss ongoing mental health crisis
With questions still abounding at Shrewsbury schools, Sawyer emphasized a broader call for individuals to reach out when battling mental illnesses or emotionally difficult times.
“We know that there are many youth and family members in our community struggling with mental health and well-being issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic,” Sawyer remarked. “If you or your child needs assistance…Please reach out for help if you need it.”
If you or someone you know is battling a mental health crisis, see the Shrewsbury Public Schools Suicide Awareness Information page for resources…https://schools.shrewsburyma.gov/district/suicide-awareness.