QUEENS — The mother and two young sisters who prosecutors say were stabbed to death by the girls' father in a fit of jealous rage were memorialized Thursday in a packed ceremony at the storefront church that was their second home.
Hundreds of mourners poured into Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, a one-room church on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica, to sing, hug and take a last look at Deisy Mejia, 21, and her daughters Yoselin, 1, and Daniela, 2, who had been placed in two small, white caskets.
“They were like a regular family,” said the Rev. Robinson Flores, recalling Mejia's laughter and her love for dancing.
After word spread that the young mom and her daughters were found stabbed in their Jamaica home Sunday evening, the congregation of South and Central American immigrants collected enough money to have their bodies flown to Guatemala, Mejia's native country, Flores said.
Mejia, who danced in the church as part of a group called Rosas de Sharon, had sought solace there from abuse by her husband, Miguel Mejia-Ramos, friends said.
Mejia-Ramos, 29, a construction worker, was drunk and became enraged last weekend after seeing photos of his wife with another man on Facebook and on her phone, prosecutors said. He grabbed at least four knives, kissed his sleeping daughters and asked them for forgiveness before stabbing them and their mother to death, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
He fled in a white van to Texas, where he was picked up by federal authorities Monday night. Mejia-Ramos is expected to be extradited to Queens on Friday to face charges of first-degree murder, the DA said.
Members of the church struggled to reconcile the image of the devout woman and loving mother they knew with the brutal way she was killed.
"She was joyful, always," Nubia Tellez, 54, said of Mejia. "The girls were beautiful."
Flores, the church's pastor, reminded mourners Thursday that life is only part of the journey a soul takes.
“She changed direction in her trip and she went back to heaven,” he said. “Even if death is next to us, we have God who is closer to us.”
Police attended the service, the pastor pointed out, encouraging women in abusive relationships to come forward, regardless of their immigration status.
Friends said Mejia feared her husband but was afraid to go to authorities because she was in the country illegally.