Mamaroneck boy's wake draws mourners; protection order issued for dad, wife

Manuela Morgado is escorted under guard as she Manuela Morgado is escorted under guard as she leaves Mamaroneck Village Court after being arraigned on charges of killing her son, 4-year-old Jason Reish. (Oct. 4, 2012) Photo Credit: Xavier Mascarenas

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The things Jason Reish loved most in this world? Airplanes. Play-doh. His "DaDa." His puppy, Reggie.

The obituary for Jason, known as "Jake" to his family, made it clear a young life was cut short even though the 4-year-old's age wasn't mentioned explicitly. On Thursday afternoon, hours after Jason's mother was arraigned on a murder charge for his death, a trickle of solemn relatives and friends walked out of the Waterbury and Kelly Funeral Home in Briarcliff Manor, clutching remembrance cards and wiping away tears.

Thursday's wake began less than five hours after Jason's mother, Manuela Maria Morgado, made a wordless appearance at Mamaroneck village court.

A judge signed orders of protection for the dead boy's father, Dr. Timothy Reish, and his wife, Erin, after prosecutors said the couple had received "threatening letters" from Morgado before the Mamaroneck woman allegedly suffocated her son early this week in her home.

Dressed in a blue top, jeans and sneakers, Manuela Maria Morgado hung her head and remained virtually silent throughout the brief appearance in Mamaroneck Village Court, where she was arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder.

Morgado wrote two threatening letters to Reish and his wife, Erin, a law enforcement source said.

The nature of the threats and how investigators came upon the letters remains unclear.

The judge also appointed a new lawyer, Harvey Loeb with the Legal Aid Society, after Morgado's initial lawyer, Max DiFabio, withdrew from the case due to an undisclosed conflict of interest. After court, DiFabio described the 46-year-old Morgado as grieving.

"Ms. Morgado is very upset at this time," he said.

Judge Christie Derrico said she is considering whether to order a mental health evaluation for Morgado.

She also had Morgado give written consent for orders that prohibit her from coming into contact with Reish, a Manhattan-based orthopedist who lives in Briarcliff, and his wife. The orders of protection stem from "threatening letters" the couple received, but no further details were released in court.

Loeb declined to comment after the proceedings. Reish's attorney did not return a call for comment.

Reish, 43, was involved in a custody dispute with Morgado over their son. Morgado and Reish were never married.

After the hearing, Morgado, with her hands cuffed in front of her, was placed in the back of a Village of Mamaroneck police car to be taken back to Westchester County Jail in Valhalla, her long black hair shielding her face.

At the wake, a parking lot bordering the funeral home was packed, and a slow but steady line of mourners shuffled in and out of the funeral home. For the most part, they avoided public displays of emotion outside the building and avoided a group of reporters and cameramen across the street, about 50 yards from the funeral home's door. A few admonished reporters for their presence.

Morgado was arrested Monday. Prompted by a call from a concerned family member, police responded to Morgado's East Boston Post Road home Monday morning, where they found Jason dead and Morgado in a "semiconscious" state.

Police said they believe Morgado killed her son late Sunday night or early Monday and may have used helium gas in an attempt to suffocate the child. Morgado left suicide notes and took "some type of pills" in an attempt to kill herself, a law enforcement source told The Associated Press.

Since her arraignment Monday, Morgado has been under constant suicide watch in jail, according to Westchester County Deputy Correction Commissioner Justin Pruyne.

Morgado, who faces up to life in prison if convicted, is due back in court on Oct. 11.

Funeral services for Jason are set for 11 a.m. Friday at Scarborough Presbyterian Church in Briarcliff Manor.

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