Child murders stun Danbury community: ‘I can’t believe it’

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DANBURY — Dozens of people gathered around the home of a young Danbury family on Friday to remember three children who were killed on Wednesday by their mother, who later took her own life.

About 100 people came to Whaley Street to mourn and light candles outside the house. White balloons and flowers decorated the porch. The cars were double-parked on the street and in the surrounding streets of the normally quiet neighborhood.

Pedro Panjon was standing near the side of his house with police officers.

He told reporters earlier on Friday that he came home from work on Wednesday to find a letter from his wife.

He then discovered his three children — Junior Panjon, 12; Joselyn Panjon, 10 and Jonael Panjon 5 – strangled to death and his wife, Sonia Loja, 36, died in a shed.

A crying and distraught man called police to the home at 6.30pm on Wednesday where they discovered the horrific scene. Police later said Loja killed her children before taking her own life.


Mourners struggled to come to terms with the tragedy.

“I don’t understand what happened,” Portilla Gonzal said. “I can not believe.”

“There are no words to say,” he added.

People began gathering for the vigil around 7 p.m. Friday. People were asked for a moment of silence and a prayer was said for the family in Spanish and the children were told to light the large candles on the porch.

One of the participants was 12-year-old JC Diaz. He took gym class with Junior – volleyball and tennis tournaments – and said Junior was “really nice”.

Portilla Gonzal said he had known Panjon for eight years. The two worked together in a landscaping business. He described Panjon as a family man who loves his children and his wife.

“Anytime we had to work late, sometimes he had to leave early to pick up his daughter,” Gonzal told Hearst Connecticut Media. “They were a beautiful family.”

Last month, representatives from the state Office of Early Childhood asked Loja to shut down her daycare business. The agency had received an anonymous complaint about an unauthorized daycare on the property, an agency spokesperson said.

The agency visited Loja four times. She faced fines of up to $100 a day if the unlicensed operation continued, according to state records.

Raquel Vasquez said Loja babysat her 8-year-old son, Jack, for three years. Every time Vasquez saw the mother of three, she said she was “very sweet.”

“She was very kind and a happy woman,” she added.

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