A year after the gruesome triple murder on Harding Avenue, neighborhood residents are trying to make the tragedy a distant memory, according to city officials.
“I think people have kind of put it behind them,” said City Councilor Gary Marchese, speaking on behalf of the Harding Avenue residents his district represents.
This Wednesday, Sept. 12, marks the one year anniversary of the brutal killings of Raphael Teken, Brendan Mess and Erik Weissman, and the killers remain at large. Nobody has even been arrested in connection with the case.
Over the past year, however, neighbors, with the help of investigators, have tried to make sense of the murders and ease fears that they live in a dangerous area, according to interviews with city officials.
Hearing their concerns during an October meeting with neighborhood residents, Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone and then-Waltham Police Chief Thomas LaCroix reminded residents that the murders were targeted and not a random act of violence, according to Marchese, who attended the gathering.
“They quelled any fears that there might be a serial killer on the loose,” Marchese said.
Leone, during a press briefing after the bodies were discovered, told reporters the killer(s) likely knew the victims and it likely wasn’t a random act of violence. While investigators never said it, the killings may have had a drug connection. A neighbor of the home where the murders occurred told reporters marijuana was found on the bodies.
Marchese said while neighbors took solace that the killings weren't random, they still expressed frustration that nobody had been arrested in the case.
While it took a few months to find new tenants after the murders, Marchese said the second floor unit is currently occupied. It underwent a few repairs after the killings, Marchese said.
Attempts to reach Harding Avenue residents through Marchese were unsuccessful. Marchese, after speaking with neighbors, said none wanted to speak to members of the media about the killings.
With the murders reportedly having a link to drug activity, neighbors have also learned ways to keep an eye on the area for drug activity, Marchese said. Leone and LaCroix, during the October meeting, advised neighbors to watch for signs of drug activity in the neighborhood and to report it to police, Marchese said.
“I think the neighbors appreciated that as well,” Marchese said.
Residents can also contact the DA’s office directly, but should first call Waltham Police, DA spokesman Stephanie Chelf Guyotte said in a statement to Waltham Patch.
MOVING ON FROM TRAGEDY
While some may still feel shaken by the murders, city officials tried to assure residents that Waltham is a safe place to live. State Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham, said Waltham residents should not be scared and take heart in the police department's efforts to protect them.
“In general, I feel safe. We have an excellent police department,” said Stanley, who lives near Harding Avenue, in a recent interview with Waltham Patch.
Also, a prior review by Waltham Patch of the city's muders shows they have all been targeted killings.
While some may feel safe, the one year mark, however, as well as the media recalling the murders may rekindle bad memories for residents, Marchese said. Hopefully, Marchese said, neighbors can keep the killings in perspective and comfortable in their neighborhood.
“I hope they can put it behind [them]. They seem to have done that. Until the murders are solved, I don’t think they will ever feel that complete piece of mind,” Marchese said.