FITCHBURG — A 33-year-old Fitchburg woman died Tuesday night after she was found in the road, with stab wounds, her three children with her, authorities said Wednesday. The woman's girlfriend, also found with stab wounds, was arraigned in her hospital bed Wednesday afternoon and was held without bail on assault charges.
Wanda Liz Gonzalez, 33, with wounds visible on both sides of her neck, did not speak Wednesday as she sat in a hospital bed at UMass Memorial — University Campus in Worcester and listened to the allegations against her through an interpreter.
Assistant District Attorney Courtney Sans said a witness saw Ms. Gonzalez stab Jennifer Narvaez-Colon outside their home at 35 Wanoosnoc Road, where they lived together and raised three children.
Authorities were summoned to the address at 10:17 p.m. Tuesday after receiving multiple 911 calls reporting that an apparent accident had left a man, thought to be a pedestrian, in the road, District Attorney Joseph J. Early Jr. said at a press conference in Fitchburg. Police found Ms. Narvaez-Colon, suffering from stab wounds, Mr. Early said, with her children — ages 13, 11 and 8 — around her.
Ms. Narvaez-Colon was taken to the hospital in Leominster before being transferred to UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus in Worcester, where she was pronounced dead. Ms. Gonzalez was found in a bedroom inside the couple's home with stab wounds to her head and neck, Mr. Early said.
Ms. Gonzalez was arraignedby videoconference in her hospital room Wednesday. Judge Christopher LoConto presided over the arraignment from Fitchburg District Court while a court official streamed the proceeding using an iPad.
Ms. Sans alleged an altercation between the two women around 10 p.m. led to the stabbing. She did not say what sparked the argument.
Judge LoConto granted Ms. Sans' request that Ms. Gonzalez be held without bail pending the dangerousness hearing. She is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury and assault and battery.
Ms. Gonzalez' attorney, John Swomley, objected to the judge opening the hospital room to journalists, alleging that her wounds were defensive and that photographs of his client at this time would be humiliating and improper.
Mr. Swomley, who said he hadn't had a chance to fully interview his client, alleged that Ms. Gonzalez was the victim of an assault. As court staff moved the iPad in front of her body, Mr. Swomley pointed out lacerations to both sides of her neck.
"The decedent took a knife and sliced her throat repeatedly," Mr. Swomley alleged, adding that a wound to the woman's bandaged hand was caused when she tried to take the knife away from her attacker.
In arguing for Ms. Gonzalez to be held without bail, Ms. Sans noted that she had allegedly been involved in a domestic assault in Puerto Rico in 2017. She said the office is still working on getting those records.
Ms. Gonzalez, who closed her eyes during some of the hearing but for the most part appeared to be listening to her interpreter through headphones, never addressed the court. A not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf.
Ms. Gonzelez is scheduled for a hearing Nov. 14 to determine whether she is too dangerous to release.
The state medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy on Ms. Narvaez-Colon. Her children were in the custody of the state Department of Children and Family Services on Wednesday but were expected to be reunited with family members.
Police were on Wanoosnoc Road much of the night and through the day. At one point they were seen picking up a large knife, which was placed in an evidence bag. Mr. Early would not comment on whether the knife was involved in the stabbings.
On Wednesday afternoon, neighbor Adri Butler watched police investigating behind 35 Wanoosnoc Road. She said her area of what is known as the Green Acres neighborhood is always quiet.
"We don’t get much ruckus here," she said. "I have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. Now we are on edge. We have to be worried about this."
Ms. Butler said she was just going to bed Tuesday night when police arrived.
"After that I was up all night," she said.
Police searched the apartment Wednesday afternoon as they continued to investigate. Mr. Early said any further charges would depend on the autopsy results.
This story has been amended to correct the first name of the judge.
Staff reporter Kim Ring contributed to this report.