Thursday, November 15, 2001

Io Nachtwey, murdered near Boston, in a King
Kekaulike High School yearbook photo.

Ex-Maui woman is
murdered near Boston

Six gang members are charged
in the killing of the 22-year-old

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILUKU >> She was selected as the best female dancer in her senior year at King Kekaulike High School on Maui in 1999 and had a great interest in reading and languages.

Faculty members were shocked to learn that former student Io Nachtwey had been killed in a brutal gang-style murder this month in Massa-chusetts, where she lived as a homeless person, sleeping in a cemetery.

Six people have been charged in Suffolk County in connection with her death.

Nachtwey, 22, who attended Maui Community College but never graduated, had been homeless for a while, traveling across the country, and moved from Maine to Massachusetts several months ago to be with her homeless boyfriend, according to Boston Globe reporter Farah Stock, who interviewed Nachtwey's friends.

Police said Nachtwey hung out with the homeless and other youths in a shopping mall section near the subway in Harvard Square called the Pit.

Nachtwey, who panhandled, would often say to passersby, "Spare change or a smile?" according to a news account.

"A lot of kids hang out there. Maybe 20 to 30 percent are homeless," said Genny Price, associated director of the homeless assistance group Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Price said she did not know Nachtwey but noted that the Pit is becoming dangerous because of an increase in gangs and heroin use. "It's kind of an entry point for street life," she said.

Prosecutors alleged Nachtwey was killed to intimidate and retaliate against her friends who had been recruited by a gang but decided not to fulfill their mission to steal money and valuables.

Suffolk County District Attorney spokesman David Procopio said the suspects took Nachtwey in a car and drove her around Boston on Nov. 3, threatening her and asking questions about her friends.

Procopio said the defendants took her to a park in Cambridge, then walked her out onto the railroad bridge that crosses the Charles River under the Boston University Bridge.

She was stabbed 12 to 15 times, as well as beaten with martial arts nunchuk sticks, and her body was rolled into the river where a passerby discovered it the next morning.

Procopio said police later arrested the defendants after two of them allegedly tried to abduct a male friend of Nachtwey at knifepoint.

Charged with murder were Scott Davenport, 27, of Cambridge; Luis Vasquez, 19, of Lawrence; his brother Ismael Vasquez, 23, of an unknown address; and Harold Parker, 27, of Mattapan. Ana White, 18, of Milton and Lauren Alleyne, 17, of Malden were charged as accessories.

King Kekaulike speech teacher Naomi Okazaki described Nachtwey as outgoing, willing to volunteer for class games and to sing and dance at school gatherings.

Okazaki said she was not surprised in hearing that Nachtwey was among those who refused to cooperate with gang members.

"Whatever her beliefs were, she stood up for them," Okazaki said. "She spoke her mind."

Procopio said Nachtwey's parents were no longer living on Maui, and police were not releasing their whereabouts to protect their privacy.

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