A store surveillance picture of murderer-suicide Pawan Kumar, from June 16 or 17, 2012
By Nicholas Stix
Sunday, June 24, 2012, 6:40 p.m.
Expanded on Monday, June 25, 2012, 1:02 a.m.
Everyone in the following story says what a sweet, wonderful (not to mention, beautiful) girl Danielle Mehlman was. Then what was she doing, letting a swarthy foreign stranger lavish expensive gifts on her, while humiliating him in front of other strangers, by showing off the gifts, while going out of her way to emphasize to them that she wasn’t sleeping with him, had no interest in doing so, was sleeping with another man, and was interested in sleeping with yet others?
Am I missing something here?
As my VDARE colleague Brenda Walker has emphasized time and again, and as I know firsthand, immigration is extremely stressful. Many people cannot handle it.
Pawan Kumar claimed that his parents and sister lived her, but that appears to have been the cover story of a desperate killer on the run.
On top of dealing with someone under the stress of having immigrated from a very strange culture, sexually humiliating a man is unwise, unkind, and unsafe, no matter where he hails from. A reader observed,
A supposedly naïve, sheltered Victorian era lady knew one didn't accept gifts from men, unless he was a relation or fiancé. They understood about sexual jealousy. Modern women are knowing, yet seem to know nothing.
But it get worse. The liberated female was not alone. She had someone who was totally dependent on her.
On second look, maybe not totally. The victim was listed as living in Bensalem, PA, while her son was listed as living in Voorhees, NJ.
Will we learn of the possibly chaotic lives that led these two to cross paths? The character of today's multicultural journalism, in which crimes committed by protected groups are reduced to cliches such as "senseless violence" makes that possibility increasingly unlikely.
Warning: I am usually the most tolerant guy on the internet when it comes to anonymous cowards who know absolutely nothing about the crime in question, yet who feign omniscience, often insisting they knew the victim, and telling me, “You don’t know what happened, you weren’t there.” However, I have momentarily reached my limit with such characters, and will consign their sage observations to spam, right from the get-go.
DELAWARE: Dewey Beach murder: The final hours
A tale that starts with gummi bear shots in a Dewey bar and ends with a suicide in a New Jersey hotel
By Sean O’Sullivan and Jesse Paul
June 23, 2012, 8:58 a.m.
The Daily Times/Dellmarva Now [Gannett]
Hours before she turned up dead in a Dewey Beach motel room, Danielle Mehlman was at a nightspot in town with Pawan Kumar – the man authorities believe later killed her – doing gummi bear shots with a Wilmington couple and showing off jewelry given to her by Kumar.
Dan Caputo and his fiancée, Cheri Duvall, said they did not sense any issue or tension between Mehlman and Kumar, although they were a bit puzzled at the exact nature of the couple’s relationship.
Caputo said at one point, they referred to Kumar as Mehlman’s “boyfriend” and she quickly corrected them to indicate he was not.
“She didn’t consider the relationship dating,” Caputo said. “She said, ‘he likes to buy me things,’ and showed us this jewelry, a gold necklace and two bracelets. She said right in front of him, ‘I’m not having sex with him, I’ve got a boyfriend.’ ”
Caputo said that it didn’t seem as if Mehlman was being mean, that she was matter-of-fact about it.
Hours after having drinks with Caputo and Duvall at Jimmy’s Grill, Mehlman’s body was discovered in a room at the Atlantic Oceanside Motel, the first homicide victim in Dewey since the resort incorporated 31 years ago.
Kumar’s body was discovered about 24 hours later at a motel in New Jersey, an apparent suicide.
Interviews with Caputo and Duvall, and with the cabbie who drove Kumar from Dewey to Wilmington, provide a picture of events in the hours before and after Mehlman’s death.
Caputo said due to the fact it was late on a Sunday, they were just about the only people in Jimmy’s Grill besides the bartender, which is apparently why Mehlman struck up a conversation with them at the bar. “She was a bit more tipsy than him,” Caputo said, but Duvall said she did not appear to be drunk.
From the conversation, Caputo said he understood that Mehlman and Kumar had only known each other a short time, perhaps a week.
“I never got a clear explanation as to how they met,” he said, or why she was down at the beach with a man she did not consider to be her boyfriend.
“I think he thought there was more going on in the relationship than she did,” Caputo said, adding that he had difficulty understanding what Kumar said due to his accent.
Kumar, a citizen of India, was in the United States on an H1 B work visa, said Harold Ort, in a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Newark, N.J. The News Journal was unable to determine where he worked or how long he’d been in the country.
Mehlman, who was from Bensalem, Pa., told Duvall that she was a schoolteacher, and media reports said she was a teacher at Planet Abacus Charter School in Philadelphia. Site Director Claudia Lyles said Mehlman had previously worked at the school but did not work there this school year.
“She was not here during my time here,” Lyles said. “I’ve been here since the end of November.”
Mehlman worked occasionally at the The Oasis, a gentleman’s club on Essington Avenue just outside of Philadelphia, according to a manager and dancer there. The manager, who identified himself to a reporter but asked that his name not be used, said Mehlman hadn’t worked there long, but once every few weeks would work the 9 p.m.-2 a.m. shift.
The manager said she “was a very sweet girl. She really hated to [work at Oasis]. She was very beautiful, and we hate to lose her. She didn’t cause any problems.”
A Delaware State Police detective visited the club as part of the investigation into Mehlman’s killing, the manager said.
At Jimmy’s Grill, Duvall said she chatted with Mehlman about where to go and what to eat in Dewey Beach. “She was really friendly and told me she was a schoolteacher.
We ‘friended’ each other [on Facebook],” she said, adding Mehlman took a picture of them with her cellphone and promised to send it to them over Facebook.
“While we were sitting there, she showed me a couple of texts from a guy she said she really did like,” Duvall recalled, saying the text was “something about ‘Where are you, I want to see you.’ ”
But, Duvall said, Mehlman reiterated in regard to Kumar, “I’m not going to have sex with this guy because I don’t love him,” but she added that Kumar was next going to take her to buy a Coach purse.
“I guess close to 9 p.m., they said they were going to the Starboard and they wanted us to go,” Duvall said. She and Caputo begged off. “We left and went home [to a beach house] and that was the end of it,” he said.
“Nothing seemed out of the ordinary,” Duvall said, adding she now regrets not going with them to the Starboard. “I have this strange feeling that maybe we should have gone.”
“She really wanted us to go,” she said.
About 10 hours later, just after 7 a.m., Beach Ride Taxi in Lewes got a call from someone who wanted a ride to the Wilmington train station. When dispatch asked him for his name, the man said, “you have my number, that is enough,” according to 56-year-old Jim Allen, owner of Beach Ride.
Allen himself went out on the call and arrived at Old Inlet Bait and Tackle nearly four miles south of the Atlantic Oceanside Motel to pick up his fare. He found a man, whom he later identified to police as Kumar, waiting outside with two plastic bags filled with clothing.
Allen said he immediately recognized the man.
“I saw [Kumar] get thrown out of the Starboard at 10:30 the night before while I was dropping off another fare,” Allen said. “I saw him in the parking lot [with] the bouncer grab[bing Kumar] and pushing him out like ‘you’re not welcome here.’ ”
Allen asked Kumar to show him proof that he had cash to pay for the ride, at which point the passenger pulled out a fistful of bills. Allen asked him how he had gotten to the tackle shop, but Kumar refused to answer.
As the two started heading North on Del. 1, Kumar changed his mind about where he wanted to go and told Allen to take him to 3120 Naamans Road –Kumar’s last known address, according to police – which he said was his parents’ apartment.
“I could barely understand his English, his accent was so heavy,” Allen said. “I asked him to write down the address so I could put it in my GPS. He kept asking every 10 minutes how far away we were.”
Allen tried to strike up a conversation, which, he said, was “like trying to pull teeth.”
“[Kumar] said he was down visiting friends and that his car had broken down,” Allen said. “He told me that his parents owned two businesses in Wilmington and that he had a sister who was in law school at Widener.”
Kumar said that he had only been in the United States for two weeks and was heading back to India on July 1 to attend medical school, Allen said.
At about 9:40 a.m., the pair arrived at the Stratford Apartments complex in Brandywine Hundred, where Kumar paid the $344 fare, with no tip, and Allen drove away.
“He just seemed very, very nervous,” Allen said. “He was disheveled and had the same clothes on as the night before. You could tell he hadn’t shaved.”
At around 10:45 a.m. Monday, a housekeeper at the Atlantic Oceanside Motel in Dewey Beach found Mehlman’s body in a ground-floor room. Police said she had been stabbed multiple times.
A couple staying in the motel said that it was a quiet night and they didn’t see or hear anything unusual.
Sometime after he was dropped off in Brandywine Hundred, Kumar made his way to Belleville, N.J., just north of Newark, according to police.
On Monday night, Kumar checked into the Belleville Motor Lodge and told the clerk he would be checking out the next day, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. When he failed to check out on Tuesday, employees tried to contact him and found the door to his room was locked.
Belleville police were called and found Kumar’s body in the room and a suicide note, said Deputy Chief Mark Minchini. The medical examiner attributed his death to an overdose.
“There was no information that [Kumar] had any specific links to Belleville that would explain why he went there,” said Katherine Carter of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
State police confirmed Thursday that Kumar had used the cab service to reach Wilmington and said they had investigated evidence in Allen’s car and had spoken to Caputo.
Sgt. Paul Shavack of the Delaware State Police said despite the fact that the suspected killer is dead, an aggressive and thorough investigation is continuing. He said they are still proceeding as if it was a criminal investigation and plan to release the details when it is complete.
Looking back,Duvall said she gets a sick feeling and wonders if Kumar was thinking or planning about what he would later do.
Caputo wonders if Mehlman’s off-hand comment dismissing her relationship with Kumar – and stating that she would not have sex with him – set Kumar off in some way. “I just keep thinking back and wonder if we never had that conversation,” he said.
The couple said they did not realize the importance of their Sunday night meeting until Tuesday when they picked up a copy of The News Journal and read about a murder in Dewey Beach. Caputo then went to delawareonline.com to read more.
That’s when he saw the picture of Kumar released by police and called over his fiancée.
Their first reaction was that it looked just like the person they had met. They didn’t realize it actually was him until they read the story and saw the names.
“When I saw the picture and read the article, I just started to get tears in my eyes,” Duvall said. “Really, it just puts a big lump in my stomach. We really had a good time and planned on keeping in contact. She was so nice.”
[I thank the anonymous reader who sent me this tip.]