Daphne Abdela and Christopher Vasquez: Michael McMorrow’s Killers Maintain a Low Profile Today

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When a real estate agent named Michael McMorrow was found dead in the lake of New York’s Central Park in 1997, the world-famous park grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons. In the episode titled ‘Central Park Slaying’ of Netflix’s ‘Homicide: New York,’ we are given a detailed account of the entire case, including the motive of the perpetrator/s and the investigation that followed. Moreover, interviews with Michael’s loved ones and the officials involved in the case are included in the episode as well.

Michael McMorrow’s Body Was Found Floating in Central Park’s Lake

On May 30, 1952, Charles and Margaret McMorrow gave birth to Michael McMorrow in New York. When he was in his preteens, the family moved from the Upper West Side in Manhattan to The Bronx in Bronx County. While growing up in University Heights in the western part of the borough, Michael was surrounded by the love and care of his parents and the support of his brother, Charles McMorrow, and sisters, Anne and Joan McMorrow. Anne passed away in 2016. He was a warm-hearted person whose outgoing and amiable personality made everyone around him comfortable. The good-humored and joyful nature of the Bronx Community College graduate is why his friends and loved ones enjoyed his pleasant company. He was lovingly referred to as Mike, Mikey, and Irish.

The 44-year-old was an educated and responsible individual who had done well for himself in life. He was a skilled communicator and had been working as a real estate agent for a company in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan for years. Prior to that, he had also spent some time in Santa Monica, California for work. His employer and friend, Glenn Golub, described him as a talented individual who had just one weakness — alcohol. As per Michael’s brother, Charles, the former even attended a rehab program for the same in the mid-1980s. While he was thriving professionally, Michael’s purported alcohol issues served as a hindrance to his personal growth.

Around the time of his death, Michael was single and had been residing with his ailing mother in the East Side of Manhattan, executing the responsibility of a caring son. Charles stated that when Michael wasn’t working or tending to their mother, he enjoyed his late-night strolls in Central Park, situated between his place of work and home. While there, the 44-year-old would reportedly meet up with friends or attend the parties that were held in the park. One such visit to the park on the night of May 23, 1997, turned out to be his final one. On the fateful night, Michael was seemingly having a good time sharing drinks with a few people in the park. Sadly, that was the last time he was spotted by his loved ones.

A few hours after midnight, the police received a call from a person who reported that their friend vanished after jumping into the lake. Upon reaching the location and extracting the badly slashed body that was floating on the lake, the authorities pulled the business card they found on the man and confirmed it was Michael McMorrow. As per the medical reports, the 44-year-old was stabbed over 30 times across the body, mutilated, and later dumped into the lake in Central Park. He was also stabbed six times in the heart, and his abdomen was gutted. An investigation into the murder of the real estate broker was immediately launched.

Michael McMorrow Was Murdered at the Hands of Two Teens

After gathering the evidence from Michael McMorrow’s lifeless body and the crime scene, the authorities immediately began interrogating key witnesses and potential suspects. Soon, they found out that Michael had crossed paths with Daphne Abdela in an alcohol rehabilitation program. So, when he spotted her on the night of May 22, 1997, he approached her and her partner, Christopher Vasquez, to share a few beers with them. However, at the time, the teenagers were already quite drunk, and Daphne had been picking up fights with random adults on the same night.

Soon, things escalated and turned serious when Michael allegedly began kissing Daphne and tried to undress her in the gazebo on the Lake of Central Park, as Christopher, who was seemingly interested in Daphne in a romantic way, looked on. In a fit of rage, the jealous Christopher pulled out a knife and started to attack Michael with it. Reports suggested that Daphne joined her friend by kicking the 44-year-old man from behind on his leg with her rollerblades, making him lose his balance and lose his footing. The stabbing was so brutal that the realtor’s head and hands were nearly severed from the body.

In the early morning hours of May 23, 1997, after the stabbing, Daphne reportedly ordered Christopher to gut Michael’s body and stuff it with rocks before dumping it into the lake to make it easier to sink him to the bottom of the lake. After committing the gruesome murder, the two 15-year-olds headed to Daphne’s Central Park West apartment to wash away the traces of blood. Once Christopher left her place, Daphne called 911 and gave a detailed account of what had transpired in Central Park earlier, putting all the blame on him and taking no accountability for her actions.

During the investigation, the detectives put both Daphne and Christopher at the very top of their list of suspects. Their suspicion turned into confirmation when they found Michael McMorrow’s wallet in Daphne’s room and a knife with his DNA in Christopher’s room. Following the revelation of these crucial pieces of evidence, the police charged both the teens with murder and arrested them on May 23, 1997.

Daphne Abdela and Christopher Vasquez Have Gone Off the Radar

In June 1997, Daphne Abdela and Christopher Vasquez were indicted for murder and robbery. Then, in March 1998, Daphne admitted that she had participated in the killing of Michael McMorrow and pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree. During her hearing, she read a statement in front of the court with tears in her eyes, “I can never say in a million words how sorry I am. Although it will not bring back Michael McMorrow, it is said from the heart and meant. Please forgive me.” In April 1998, she was sentenced to 39 months to 10 years in prison for her role in the murder of the real estate agent in May 1997.

Image Credit: New York Post

As for Christopher Vazquez, his trial began in November 1998, and in less than a month, he was convicted of first-degree manslaughter. Since he managed to evade the more serious charge of second-degree murder, Michael McMorrow’s family members were enraged as his nephew Matthew McMorrow stated, “How can anyone confuse 35 stab wounds with manslaughter? It’s beyond comprehension.” In late January 1999, nearly two years after the murder, Christopher received the maximum term of 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison as it was recommended that he should not be paroled until after he served his 10-year sentence. After serving just six years out of the 10-year sentences, both Daphne and Christopher were released from prison in January 2004.

However, the former got into trouble with the law again while still on parole in October 2004. She was arrested for making death threats over phone calls to a Brooklyn-based female ex-con. Under the new curfew restrictions, she was ordered to report home two hours earlier. Several years later, in April 2009, she resided on the Upper East Side and got involved in a crash with Karen Coniglio and Thomas Scapoli on First Avenue near 125th Street. She sustained a serious injury during the accident and was advised to stay in bed. Later, Daphne filed a lawsuit against Karen and Thomas for her pain and suffering. As of now, Daphne and Christopher seemingly lead a life away from the media and have managed to stay away from any run-ins with the law.

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