Just weeks ago, 18-year-old Lauren Astley of Framingham, Massachusetts, graduated from Wayland High School. On Sunday night, she was reported missing after she didn’t return home from her job at a local mall, where she had told co-workers she was meeting her ex-boyfriend after work. On Monday morning, her body was found in a marsh by a passing cyclist and her ex Nathaniel Fujita, 18, is the main suspect. Police say they don’t know what triggered her killing, but they found blood in Fujita’s garage, kitchen and bathroom, a blood-stained bungee cord, and bloody clothes and sneakers throughout his home. On Tuesday, Fujita pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and has been held without bail.
Astley’s father told reporters that his daughter did not have a boyfriend and had broken up with Fujita, her boyfriend of three years, at some point recently. Although it’s not clear yet whether the young couple had previous domestic violence incidents in their relationship, her death now underscores the truism that the most dangerous time for a person in an abusive relationship is when she or he tries to leave.
Lauren Astley was headed to Elon University in North Carolina in the fall and one of our Frisky readers who attends the college and would have been her classmate sent me this article about her senseless death.
If you or someone you know is in a controlling, violent or otherwise abusive relationship, learn how to get help at TheHotline.org or by calling 1-800-799-SAFE.