The Worst Day

By Nathalie Sczublewski

Feb. 1, 2010

The Marchands

Jody Marchand came home from a late shift the evening of Feb. 1, 2010. At the time, she worked as a loan officer. 

She saw her husband lying on the couch. Marchand went upstairs to their bedroom and changed into pajamas. She walked into the kitchen and figured out what to make for dinner. 

Marchand and her husband were in the early stages of divorcing. Her husband began yelling at her from the couch. Marchand screamed back. Then, he lunged at her. 

He pushed her against the wall and choked her. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. What do I do?’” Jody Marchand said. Her husband released her and she ran upstairs to dial 911. Marchand hung up once the police answered. She called again and hung up. She feared what he would do next. 

Her daughter Olivia, consoled her mother in her parents’ bedroom, when the phone rang. It was the police. The dispatcher asked if everything in the house was alright. Olivia assured the dispatcher that things were fine. 

They were not. 

In Marchand’s case, it was about control. 

“Victims, very often they might know that something is wrong, but yet the abusive partner, makes you feel like you’re crazy and you’re like exaggerating,” said Marchand. “They honestly, literally remember things the way they did not happen. Now, you question yourself. You lose your confidence and you keep thinking, ‘If I do this, maybe it will get better?’”

After meeting with survivors of domestic violence, Marchand says each relationship was different, yet there was a common factor: power and control. “I talk to people to let them know, you may not be physically injured. You may not be getting hit—although plenty people are,” she said. “But you have to be careful for your life if there is other types of abuse.” 

Aug. 20, 2017

The Mirandas

Michael Miranda and his friends planned on a night out. They wound up inside Cure Lounge in downtown Boston’s Theater District. 

Massachusetts State Rep. Liz Miranda texted her little brother throughout the night. He posted videos of him and his friends on Snapchat. She giggled at videos of him dancing, laughing and taking photos with girls at the club. 

Michael danced along to the loud bass and enjoyed his time out with friends. Hours past by and bartenders yelled for last call. The young men walked out of the club, when suddenly a man approached them.

It was a little after 2 a.m. when Miranda’s phone rang. It was Aug. 20, 2017.

She wasn’t prepared for the news on the other line. 

Feb. 14, 2018

The Guttenbergs

The morning of Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 started like any other day in the Guttenberg house. 

With chaos. 

Jennifer and Fred Guttenberg headed out the door for work, they hustled their two teenagers Jesse and Jaime, for school. Meanwhile, their two dogs barked for attention. 

Looking back on this morning, it’s what Fred Guttenberg cannot remember saying that haunts him to this day. 

“I don’t know if I said, in that moment of rushing them out the door, ‘I love you,’” Guttenberg said. “I say it to my kids all the time. I don’t remember if I said it that morning because my focus was getting them out the door.”

“I am haunted by this idea that the very last time I spoke to my daughter — I didn’t say it.” 

Guttenberg and his children communicated throughout the day through text messages. It seemed like a regular day, with the exception that it was Valentine’s Day. 

Shortly after 2:20 p.m., Guttenberg received an incoming phone call from his son.

News of Jaime’s death was revealed on social media. The press flocked to the Guttenbergs’ home and their phones rang incessantly. Police officers monitored the family’s house and warded off media. 

That night, Jaime’s dance sisters visited. Before making the trip to the Guttenbergs, her dance friends each made orange ribbons that they pinned on their shirts — her favorite color. 

“I watched these kids grow up,” Guttenberg said. “They’re not supposed to have to deal with this.” 

The Guttenbergs planned to watch a digital copy of Fred and Jennifer’s wedding video that night. They wanted to show their children how young and in love they were. Instead, it was a day dealing with trauma and discussing burial arrangements for Jaime. 

“My wife and I lost one of our two children,” Guttenberg said. “Where my son had to come to grips with the fact that he is now an only child and will never be an uncle.”

The Schentrups

Carmen and Evelyn Schentrup spent the evening of Feb. 13, 2018 at Saint Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, Fla. The sisters were in charge of coordinating the church’s Fat Tuesday supper – a carb loaded feast with pancakes and sausages before Ash Wednesday. 

Carmen, president of the church’s youth group, hurried around the kitchen. She greeted members of her parish and gave her little sister orders. The priests and church goers complimented April Schentrup how her girls produced a successful event.

The Schentrups returned home around 9 p.m. Carmen needed to finish homework due the next day. April asked her daughter what the assignment was. 

“I’m not really supposed to tell you, but I’ll show it to you later,” Carmen said coyly. 

An hour later, Carmen walked into the room carrying her laptop. It was a sonnet for her AP Literature class. She handed her mother her laptop for approval:

Sonnet to Mom

What do you give someone who has it all? 

You don’t drink wine

I can’t afford taking you out to dine

You rarely enjoy shopping at the mall

And your shoe collection is by no means small

When it comes to makeup, well, you just borrow mine

And dad already bought the entire Amazon Echo line

The question of what to get you is driving me up the wall.

But then I realized it is not the things

The clothes, shoes, or food that you love

Although chocolate certainly helps too

It’s doing something small that really sings

How my love for you will last when you’re up above

And my life is better being with you. 

“I remember saying how I loved it and how much I appreciated it,” April Schentrup said smiling. “She could go ahead and share it with her class the next day.”

Carmen returned to her room. April walked into each of her daughters’ bedrooms and wished them a good night. 

The morning of Wednesday, Feb. 14, April and the girls got ready for school and work. Before leaving, she left Valentine’s Day goodie bags on the kitchen counter for each of her daughters. She said, ‘I love you’ and ‘have a good day,’ as her girls responded back through closed doors. 

Tuesday night was the last time April saw her daughter Carmen. Wednesday morning, was the last time April spoke with her eldest daughter.

Carmen’s older brother Robert was a student at the University of Central Florida. He received a text message from his friend about a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Robert called one of his fraternity brothers who had siblings at the high school. Then, Robert immediately called his parents. 

Robert and his friends gathered at the fraternity house and turned on the TV. They all watched for updates and monitored their phones. Hours went by and he still had not heard anything about his little sister, Carmen. He learned from a contact Carmen was shot and could be at a local hospital. 

“After a while, as it got dark that day, we started to kind of know that it was most likely that she was not injured,” said Robert Schentrup. 

At 2 a.m., Robert got a call from his parents. His father told him the news. 

“Bobby, your sister was killed today.” 

“I just broke down,” Robert said. “I cried for a very long time. I don’t remember going to sleep for more than two hours that night.” 

About Nathalie Sczublewski 5 Articles
Nathalie Sczublewski is a multimedia journalist from South Florida. She is a graduate student at Emerson College. She received her B.A. in Journalism at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She hopes to report on politics and local news after graduating.