She was still in her pajamas and was drifting across a busy street in Grafton, Massachusetts, a town not far from Worcester. The dawn had just broken out. It was 6 a.m. on Wednesday when a police officer noticed the little girl and asked if anything was wrong.
“Mommy is sleeping, mommy is sick.”
When police followed her, they were shocked to see her father in the kitchen clutching a knife that was stuck in his neck, her mother dead and lying helplessly on bathroom floor.
The “bright little girl” led officers to the house, Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early told reporters.
The officers found her father, 42-year-old Michael Sugarman was still alive. He is expected to be charged in connection with the death of the girl’s mother, 36-year-old Kelly Sugarman.
“Keeping in mind we are early in the investigation, the appropriate charges will be forthcoming,” Early said in a statement. “The medical examiner has accepted the case and an autopsy will determine the cause and manner of Ms. Sugarman’s death.”
The Associated Press reported that Michael Sugarman appeared in Westborough District Court dressed in a hospital gown and pleaded not guilty to assault and battery on Thursday.
“Prosecutors said they plan to charge him with murder.”
Though the murder lacks a definite motive, it is speculated that consistent financial arguments may have played its part in the alleged murder, the Sun Herald reported.
Neighbors said Michael Sugarman worked in construction and Kelly Sugarman was a stay-at-home mom, according to ABC affiliate WCVB.
“She was just running and there was no parent around, no adults around,” Jackie Costello, a neighbor, told WCVB. “I didn’t know if she was running from one house to another, so I just watched her for a little bit and nobody came out.”
According to the authorities, the family had not lived in the home very long, so police officers had to follow the instincts of a 5-year-old girl to find out where they were headed. The girl took them to the right place, but what they saw there was deeply disturbing.
“The officer observed a man on the floor of house’s kitchen with what appeared to be a knife protruding from his neck,” a police statement said. Kelly Sugarman, the statement added, was “deceased on the floor in her bedroom.”
“We don’t know at this point what the girl did see or did not see,” Early, the district attorney, said at a news conference, according to the Boston Herald.
The father of the girl, Michael Sugarman, was quickly taken to the nearest hospital. The girl was also taken to the hospital for evaluation and then released to the Department of Children and Families.
It was, the district attorney said, “a tough day” for everyone involved. You got a 5-year-old on the side of the road now who doesn’t have a mother,” he said.
Kenneth Kleaka, 37, from Long Island, New York, said he grew up across the street from Kelly Sugarman and called her family.
“It is so hard to say this but my old neighbor who is pretty much my little sister passed away this morning,” he wrote Wednesday on Facebook.
“Kelly Sugarman, I can’t believe anyone (sic) of this is true, I want to wake up. Please let me wake up. This is one of the hardest things I have ever gone thru, I love you sis.”
Kleaka told the Washington Post on Friday that they grew up in Whitesboro, New York, and have remained close over the years. He said the two were supposed to see each other on Easter, but Michael Sugarman had a health issue.
“Every time you saw them together, they were the happiest family you’ve ever seen,” he said. “It’s a big shock.”
Kleaka has set up a GoFundMe page for the girl, who “will need as much support as me and my family will right now,” he said, talking about how close she was to her mother.
[Image via Pixabay]