Westport deaths of mother, daughter were murder-suicide, medical examiner rules

Photo of Nicholas Rondinone

WESTPORT — The deaths of a woman and her 7-year-old daughter that shook the community and local elementary school have been ruled a murder-suicide, the state’s chief medical examiner said Friday.

According to Dr. James Gill, the state’s chief medical examiner, Tracy Do, 46, died by suicide from “sharp injuries of torso and extremities.” Gill said Layla Malon was drowned and her death was ruled a homicide.

A state police source previously said Friday the deaths were being investigated as a possible double-homicide, but the medical examiner determined it was a murder-suicide after conducting autopsies on the bodies.

Westport police said they responded to a Lyndale Park home around 4 p.m. Thursday for a report of an unresponsive woman. Police said they found the woman’s body and the 7-year-old child, who was also dead.

“This is a horrible tragedy, and the police department is keeping the family as well as the community that was so deeply affected by this in our thoughts and prayers,” Police Chief Foti Koskinas said in a statement.

According to court records, the owner of the house attempted to have Do removed earlier this year after their romantic relationship ended. He alleged in the court filing that she destroyed some of his belongings and was escalating tensions in the home, the court records show.

A judge ultimately denied the request, in part due to an executive order from Gov. Ned Lamont that limited evictions during the pandemic.

In a separate lawsuit against the homeowner, Do alleged that she had worked for him and his construction company for years without receiving compensation.

In a brief statement released Friday morning, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe called the deaths “an awful tragedy.”

“Police, first responders, public school personnel and students have been directly impacted by this devastating event,” he said. “The entire community shares in their grief and sadness. Westport is a caring community and I know we will come together to support those who need to begin the healing process.”

Mark Kratter, a criminal defense attorney who lives across the street from the Lyndale Park home, said the family was known for their “unbelievable” Christmas decorations.

“They looked to be a very happy family,” he said Friday morning. “They had a very well-manicured home with extensive Christmas decorations that populated the entire lawn on a 2-acre lot.”

The three-story home, which sits on the corner of Weston Road, is surrounded by fencing and is only accessible by a gate. The 4,457-square-foot home was last sold in July 2010 for $515,000, according to property records.

On Friday morning, a police vehicle was parked in the driveway while an unmarked police car sat up the street.

By the afternoon, a small bouquet of flowers and a purple stuffed animal had been placed on the bench near the home’s front gate in a makeshift memorial.

Westport Schools Superintendent Thomas Scarice said Coleytown Elementary School and Stepping Stones Preschool was closed Friday for normal activities, but was open for parents and students for mental health services.

Scarise said students can come to school Monday to collect their belongings before going on summer vacation. Scarise said there “will be no discussion of the recent tragedy while students visit their teachers and collect their belongings.”

“As our community mourns the tragic loss of one of our beloved student and her mother, I want to provide assurance that the school district is actively working to support those closest to this unspeakable loss,” he wrote in a message to Westport families. “A plan for mental health and grief counselors is being developed for those most impacted.”