When I first read about this page on FB, it stated it was a memorial for all teens who had passed. I inputted my daughter's information before reading it's a sight for teens who died in car accidents. My daughter wasn't killed in a car accident, she was murdered. If you're interesed, please read on – this is the story of how my daughter Danielle was murdered. I believe no matter how you lose your child – a child's death is … there are no words for it… i can say heart breaking but that's just one aspect a parent goes through when they lose a child. Unless you lost a child, you have no idea what the parent goes and/or has been through. Here is my dughter's story… thank you.
Danielle Chucka (known to all her friends as just "Chucka") was born on October 3, 2008. Danielle was a beautiful and wonderful baby – so easy to raise. . . she had a beautiful smile and rarely gave her mom a hard time. Danielle loved animals – especially cats which she often brought home (and her mom usually fell in love with the cat/kitten she brought home and they became part of the family) – she became a vegetarian at age 10. By the time she was 13, she started to speak her mind. She followed politics (she especially loved the John Stewart show), she loved reading. Her style was unique – she beat her own drum. She had all kinds of friends, didn't matter of the age, the race, whether or not they dropped out of the school and/or were ace students – she didn't judge. Danielle "Chucka" was murdered at the young age of 17 years old on 2/23/06 by a 26 year old male ("Rick") who lived and still lives in the neighborhood. According to the ME, Danielle digested a number of pills either of two ways. Swallowed them and/or they were put in a drink without her knowing – due to the circumstances surrounding her case, there is a good chance the pills were put into her drink without her knowledge. When Rick couldn't wake up Danielle, instead of calling 911, he called his mother and uncle at their work place. They rushed home and decided not to save Danielle's life by calling 911. Instead they dragged Danielle's body from Rick's basement bedroom and throughout the house and finally left her body on their outside deck in a pair of Rick's PJ bottoms, a tee shirt and one shoe. They left here on the deck in freezing weather from 1 pm. Danielle's was bruised on the left side of her body from being dragged up a flight of stair throughout the house. According to the Medical Examiner, Danielle died on the deck and not in the house. All Danielle's personal belongings were discarded by Rick and his family – and were never found. Rick use to work at a pharmacy and was terminated for stealing pills – the same pills he sold and gave to teens throughout the neighborhood. Though he was 26 yrs of age, he hung out with teens (15 – 18 yrs of age) at his house where the teens had easy access to pills thanks to Rick. . Before Danielle's death, there were two separate incidents of teens overdosing in Rick's house. One teen overdosed approximately 1 yr before Danielle's death. Rick instructed the teens hanging out at his house to drag the teen who overdosed to the corner. Thanks to a good samaratin spotting him on the street and called 911 – thanks to the good samaritan, the teen just graduated college. Another incident involved a female teen who overdosed 6 months before Danielle's death. Once again Rick instructed the teens hanging out at his house to drag her body down the block to her house and ring the bell and run which they did. That teen was saved due to her dad rushing her to the local ER. Unfortunately, Danielle's body was dragged on Rick's back deck and left there for 6 1/2 hours before 911 was called. It is believed that eventually Rick was going to dispose of her body but Danielle's sister came to the house looking for her and that is the only reason why 911 was eventually called (Danielle's sister went to Rick's house at 6:35 pm looking for her, but no one answered the bell though Nicole rang it for over 5 minutes and called out Danielle's name). Nicole eventually left Rick's to look for her elsewhere but went back to his house approx. 10 minutes later to a scene of amublances, police cars and firetrucks. The ambulance technician informed Danielle's sister that Danielle had passed – he also told her that Danielle could have been saved had 911 been called when she first passed out. The NYPD did a terrible job re Danielle's case – DNA was never done on Danielle – though drugs were scattered throughout the house – a legal search was never conducted and no one was arrested with tampering of evidence (moving Danielle's body and getting rid of her personal belongings). I am fighting for justice for my daughter – her case was treated as just another teen overdose. If you're interested in reading more re the case you can join the FB group "Justice for Danielle". Two days after Danielle's murder, Rick posted on his MySpace page the following quote: "Danielle is where she wants to be, kissing the top of a coffin lid" and his MySpace page stated the following, "My name is Rick and I love to drug girls up and have sex with them." he then went on to list the pills he gave to the girls in order to drug them up and the pills that were listed were in Danielle's system. Two other teens overdosed at Rick's house (Rick gave them the pills they overdosed on) a short time before Danielle's death. Thankfully they are both alive and well today. One teen was saved by a good samaritan who called 911 after spotting the teen's body laying on the street (Rick istructed teens hanging out at the time of the teen's overdose to move his body to the corner and they followed his instructions and dumped his body was dumped on the corner. The second teen who overdosed approx. 6 months before Danielle's death was a female teen and Rick once again instructed the teens hanging out at his house to drag her body to her house (she lived down the street) and ring her bell and run – which they did and she was fortunately was rushed to the ER by her dad. Rick is still walking the streets, he served two years in a day rehab and actually attended college (on the taxpayers dime) while in rehab, he was never charged with the murder because according to the detectives, the Bronx DA didn't want her case in the courts or in the press. Below is a letter i received from a teacher who taught Danielle English in highschool – this will give you an insight re the type of person Danielle was:
Dear Mrs. Chucka: I am an English teacher, a stone age veteran; words are my life and I find myself speechless. I don't think the English language or any other language contains the words to adequately describe the loss of Danielle: tragic, disastrous, horrifying, catastrophic – none even skirts the depth of her loss. During the years my children were in middle school, I contrived to teach in their school so I would be able to share their experiences firsthand. It was extremely illuminating. It's hard to leave "Mommy" at home and be "MizLo" to your own kids but I am glad I did it because a child's life in school can be a whole other life. You weren't fortunate to be able to share Danielle's school life, so it is with appropriate humility and deference to you, "Mommy", that I would like to share with you "my" Danielle". In the "King and I", Anna tells the gaggle of adoreable Siamese children, "It's a very ancient saying but a true and honest thought that if you become a teacher by your pupils you'll be taught." I was privledged to learn a great deal from Danielle. We spent quite a lot of time together, both in the classroom and out. She laughed at my fear of scary books and movies. She accepted with aplomb, my disapproval of her piercings. I learned that I wasn't as accepting of others as I had thought – she taught me to be more so. She promised me that on the next ski trip she'd protect me on my way down a "black diamond" slope. She taught me to reserve judgment – very difficult for me – until I'd sifted the facts seven ways from Sunday. I learned everything there is to know about David Bowie. She was the kind of student of whom every teacher dreams – she was smart, well read, creative, industrious; she had initiative and a great sense of humor and her hand was always up. Danielle was vocal, strong-minded and passionately opinionated. We immediately recognized in one another a kindred spirit. Further, she had a very strong sense of herself, a quality not often found in teens. It was clear that she had spent considerable time thinking, reflecting, measuring and analyzing herself, her family, her life and how she fit into the world around her. The result was a girl who very clearly marched to the beat of a very different drummer. She wasn't a rebel without a cause – she espoused many, all with equal enthusiasm and commitment. She liked to take the road not often taken – she changed her hair the way many women changed their clothes – each different color, length and style reflected her electric personality. She wore very short cut off jeans with striped tights – I remember that I remarked that she looked remarkably like Smee in "Peter Pan". We had a good laugh about that – but she knew she wasn't being threatened or ridiculed and her self composure wasn't shaken. The following day she wore an equally unusual outfit. She had an equally electric circle of friends – smart, not so smart, unusual, older, younger, in school, out of school – and she clearly valued each one of them. I had and have great admiration for her. She overcame great personal hardships, virtually alone. Even though we were close, and she was secure enough in our relationship to trust me with her secrets, she was often loath to ask for help – even though she knew it was readily available. It wasn't that she felt obligated; she never wanted to be a burden. She would thank me profusely for the smallest gesture – a mere granola bar would generate 17 thank yous! In the 4th week of her tenure in my Junior College Pre English class, I threw her out. I called her guidance counselor to tell her that Danielle was clearly an honor student and insisted that she move up to Honors English for the following semester. When Danielle complained to me, very privately, that she didn't feel as challenged as she had hoped in that class, I suggested that she sign up for AP English Literature. She demurred at first but I talked her into it. Presto!! She was in heaven. When she came to ask to work for me as a service aide, I jumped at the chance. She rarely needed direction and often found a better way to accomplish the task at hand than the way I had originally engineered. I was very lucky to have her, but the most important benefit of our innumerable hours in the book room was that we got to share our innermost thoughts – about everything – we talked about school, your family, my family, her experiences, my experiences, books, David Bowie, boys, politics, David Bowie, books, sports, college, books, the future – everything. She was a remarkable young woman. Don Quixote was known as "El caballero de la triste figura" – the knight of the woeful countenance. Danielle was "La chica de la cara del sol"; even when she was down, her quick megawatt smile lit up not only her face but the room. She corralled me on the first day of school this year: how could she rearrange her schedule to fit in my Honors class? I was worried that she intended to give up AP – no, she assured me, her course load would include my meaningfully onerous Honors Class, Creative Writing, AP (double period) English Literature and Journalism. Only Danielle would even consider – much less welcome – such a course load. Naturally, I was thrilled. Naturally, her work – in every class – was stellar. The Talmud says that the loss of one life is the same as the loss of life, and the saving of one is the same as the saving of all; in other words, the world is enhanced or diminished by every single life. I have long believed in the truth of this maxim. Danielle was a jewel. She graced Lehman High School and life with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. She leaves us all bereft. My life and the world around us are viscerally diminished without her. Sincerely, Mindi Lo Cicero, English Teacher – Lehman High School, Bronx, NY