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Four New Jersey Teen-Agers Die in Suicide Pact

March 12, 1987|Associated Press

BERGENFIELD, N.J. — Four teen-agers who made a suicide pact and apparently died of carbon monoxide poisoning Wednesday left a note saying they wanted to be buried together, but did not explain why they killed themselves, a prosecutor said.

The bodies of the two girls and two boys, ages 17 to 19, were found in a locked car in an apartment complex garage after a passer-by heard the car's motor running and called police, Bergen County Prosecutor Larry McClure said.

The four were identified as Thomas Rizzo, 19, Thomas Olton, 19, and sisters Lisa and Cheryl Burress, ages 17 and 18.

Follow 4 Deaths

The suicides followed the deaths last year of four youths in this middle-class community of 25,500 people, which is about six miles west of New York City.

McClure said the four who killed themselves Wednesday may have known the other youths, whose deaths he described as "incidents that may have been suicides and . . . were related to drug and-or alcohol consumption."

Rizzo's mother, who refused to give her first name, said one of last year's deaths involved her son's best friend, Joe Major, who fell from a cliff overlooking the Hudson River. Mrs. Rizzo described the death as a suicide.

"They have a pact going on here in Bergenfield and they are dying one after another," she said.

Mayor Charles O'Dowd urged other youngsters who might be thinking about suicide to seek help.

Talked of Suicide

A friend of the youths, 17-year-old Linda Figueroa, said the four appeared to be preoccupied with suicide. "They would talk about it, but I didn't think they would do it," she said.

Another friend of the victims, Regina Ruggiero, said three of them were high school dropouts.

A note signed by all of Wednesday's victims in pen on a brown paper bag was found on the car's front seat, McClure said.

It said they wanted a wake to be held for all of them and they wished to be buried together, but gave no "reasonable explanation" for the suicide pact, McClure said.

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