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Murder, suicide

  • LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Police and emergency personnel converged at 144 West Railroad St. in Nesquehoning just after 9 a.m. Saturday, after an apparent murder-suicide.
    LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Police and emergency personnel converged at 144 West Railroad St. in Nesquehoning just after 9 a.m. Saturday, after an apparent murder-suicide.
Published May 29. 2012 05:00PM

As you pass by the single two-story home located at 144 West Railroad St. in Nesquehoning, you'll notice a colorful memorial placed there by friends and loved ones of a couple found dead in the home by two of their children and a neighbor.

State police reported that Christopher Lewis, 33, shot his wife, Dana, 31, and then himself in an apparent murder-suicide early Saturday morning.

Carbon County Coroner Bruce Nalesnik pronounced the two dead at 10:38 a.m. He said autopsies are scheduled for today.

"They were such a great couple. Their kids were great too," said a female neighbor. "Dana was always so polite and always had a caring smile. What a tragedy for both of them. They were only married less than a year."

Another neighbor said, "Their kids would always come visit us and play with our two dogs." She added, "They kept their home so nice and treated everyone kindly."

Friends point out that Dana (Naftzinger) Lewis, a 2000 Tamaqua graduate originally from Port Clinton, had worked at Trans Western Polymer in Hometown and First Quality Nonwovens.

They added that Chris, a 1996 Tamaqua High School graduate, was raised in Mantzville (West Penn) and had also worked at Trans Western Polymer a number of years ago. He was currently working at a battery factory near Allentown.

A state police team from Troop N is investigating the deaths, a press release from state police said.

"Everything at this point indicates that it's going to be a murder-suicide," said PA State Police Lt. Robert Bartal.

According to a WBRE-TV report, family and friends of the couple said the threat of a possible separation is likely what resulted in Christopher Lewis shooting his wife and then himself.

A neighbor, who lives three houses down from the Lewis home, said two of the couple's four children, an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old, found the bodies and ran to the neighboring home around 9 a.m., saying "their mom and dad wouldn't wake up." Another neighbor recalled seeing a third child in the street with the two children.

Nicole Strawdinger, a neighbor, said on WFMZ-TV, "Their two kids came over to my house, were banging on the door, and they had spoke to me and said that both their parents were bleeding."

"He was crying," said Kayla, Nicole's 12-year old daughter. "Screaming to my mom as loud as he could scream. And then the little girl was crying and telling me exactly what she saw and everything."

Nicole added that she ran up to the room and saw that both of the parents were on the floor. Holding back tears, she said, "And I could tell that they were gone."

"Dana had a great smile, and her laughter, and she loves kids," said Karen Matosin, Dana's mother. "She loves her kids."

Matosin added during the interview, "Right now, they don't have their parents, but Nanny is going to take care of them."

Police stated that no more information will be available until a complete investigation is done.

A close friend of the couple pointed out on Facebook that they were having issues and were planning to divorce, after being together more than nine years.

George and Wendy Stoffa, who are longtime friends of both Chris and Dana, stated, "They were like family to us." "We love both of them, no matter what."

The Facebook friend and the Stoffas stressed their sympathies and prayers to all the affected families and their four children.

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