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The murder-suicide of Connecticut mother Sonia Loja leaves the Danbury community shocked

A mother who sent her children to the daycare center of a Connecticut woman accused of killing her own children before taking her own life said Thursday she was shocked by the triple homicide.

The woman attended a vigil for the murdered family outside their Danbury home on Thursday night and refused to believe Sonia Loja, 36, was strangling her three children.

“I can’t believe Sonia did that. I don’t believe what happened,” Nube Sucuzhanay, 33, told The Post.

“Sonia was a good person. She loved and cared for her children and was good with the children she cared for.”

Sucuzhanay said Loja came to the United States from Ecuador about 15 years ago. Sucuzhanay entrusted Loja with her own two children and enrolled them in her daycare for seven years.

“I felt very comfortable leaving my kids with Sonia,” she said. “[She was] just so good with kids and so very kind.”

Loja ran an illegal daycare center outside of her home and told parents of about 10 children she couldn’t watch them on Wednesday – the same day police believe she was giving up her own children, 12-year-old Junior Panjon and the 10-year-old Joselyn killed Panjon and 5-year-old Jonael Panjon. Loja then took his own life.

A woman is seen crying outside Sonia Loja's home in Danbury, Connecticut, on July 28, 2022.
A woman is seen crying outside Sonia Loja’s home in Danbury, Connecticut, on July 28, 2022.
Stephen Yang
Members of an Ecuadorian community in Danbury gather at the home of 36-year-old Sonia Loja in Danbury July 28, 2022.
Parishioners gather at the home of Sonia Loja in Danbury on July 28, 2022.
Stephen Yang

Loja reportedly strangled each child individually before hanging herself in a shed in the backyard of her home, police said. Her husband and father of the children, Pedro Panjon, found the bodies upon returning home and fainted at the grisly discovery.

Sucuzhanay was one of about 50 mourners who gathered outside the home Thursday night for a vigil organized by the region’s large Ecuadorian community. Mourners sang hymns, recited prayers and lit candles for over an hour.

They created a makeshift memorial for the murdered children by placing prayer candles, flowers, white balloons and a teddy bear on the home’s front steps.

Toys and other items are displayed on Sonia Loja's porch in Danbury on July 28, 2022.
Toys and other items are displayed on Sonia Loja’s porch in Danbury on July 28, 2022.
Stephen Yang
Police believe Sonia Loja killed her children, 12-year-old Junior Panjon, 10-year-old Joselyn Panjon and 5-year-old Jonael Panjon.
Police believe Sonia Loja killed her children, 12-year-old Junior Panjon, 10-year-old Joselyn Panjon and 5-year-old Jonael Panjon.
Pedro Panjon/Facebook

A young student who attended Saint Peter School with Joselyn from kindergarten through third grade said her late classmate was extremely intelligent and kind.

“Joselyn was a very smart, creative and supportive person,” said Katelyn Jimenez, 11. “Joselyn was always there when you needed her. She would comfort anyone going through a difficult time.”

Katelyn said Joselyn excelled at math and helped her when she was struggling with mathematical equations.

“It seemed to me like she had a good life,” Katelyn said. “She was very positive. She was great at art and music, but she was also very smart at math.”

“I’m sad,” she added. “She was a good classmate and friend.”

Tomas Vega, 31, was among the many mourners who, despite not knowing Loja and her children personally, felt compelled to attend the vigil in support of the family.

Vega, a father of two, could not understand Loja’s violent last act.

“What would make you kill yourself and take your three children’s lives?” Vega asked in disbelief. “Imagine seeing your first child dead, then the next, then the third. Something really bad must have happened.”

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five counties, you can call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

https://nypost.com/2022/07/29/connecticut-mom-sonia-lojas-murder-suicide-leaves-danbury-community-shocked/ The murder-suicide of Connecticut mother Sonia Loja leaves the Danbury community shocked

JACLYN DIAZ

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