A Freeport man was arrested Monday and charged with second-degree murder in the death of a young mother of two whose body was found in a burning home, police said. The victim's family identified the suspect as her husband.
Loventino Cassadean, 49, of 117 Craig Ave., is to be arraigned Tuesday in First District Court in Hempstead. He is charged in the death of the woman, who was identified by her family members as his wife, Felicia Cassadean, 22.
Police said the cause of death and the victim's identity had not been positively determined. But Felicia Cassadean's father said Nassau detectives told the family she had been killed.
Freeport police and fire responded to a report of a fire shortly after 6 a.m. Monday in the Craig Avenue home, authorities said, and a woman's body was found in the front part of the house. Loventino Cassadean "flagged down" a Freeport police officer responding to the blaze and, after an interview, was taken into custody "without incident," police said in a news release.
"I don't know if I can stand to witness this tragedy," said Felicia Cassadean's father, Mohamed Adeen, who was to identify the body Tuesday at the medical examiner in East Meadow. "I expect my child to be burying me, not for me to burying my child," Adeen said, his voice cracking.
Felicia Cassadean lived with Loventino Cassadean and her two sons, who are younger than 10, Adeen said.
Many of Felicia Cassadean's family members were at her father's and uncle's home in Queens, and remembered her as someone whose top priority was always her two children.
"She was a person who was dedicated to her sons," her uncle Fazal Adeen said. "She would do anything to take care of them."
Mohamed Adeen said his daughter had brought her sons to Guyana to visit their grandmother and he heard they had recently returned, but didn't know where they were last night.
Felicia Cassadean was born in Guyana and moved to the United States in 1996. She lived with her father and other family members, including her uncle Fazal Adeen, until she was about 14.
"She was one of my favorite nieces," Fazal Adeen said. "She was always a happy person . . . and she just loved to love life."
Felicia Cassadean has a brother, Asheer, and two sisters, Farina and Fariza, all of Queens.
Fariza Adeen, 16, said the last time she saw her sister was on Felicia Cassadean's birthday on July 27. That was also the last day their father spent time with her. "I hugged her and kissed her, and said 'Happy birthday and I wish you many more to come,' " Mohamed Adeen said.
He said she went to live with her mother, Bhagmatti Singh, in Guyana when she was pregnant with her first son. He said she was about 14. She returned to the United States and went to live at Regina Maternity Services in Merrick, a group home for young unwed mothers.
Elaine McArthur, a counselor there, said Felicia Cassadean was there for about three years, until she graduated from high school, but they have stayed in touch over the years. She said the last time she spoke to Felicia Cassadean was in beginning of July, just before Cassadean took her sons to Guyana. She said the family had recently moved to Freeport, and lived in Glen Cove before that.
Felicia Cassadean was studying pharmacology at Farmingdale State College and had recently taken her road test, McArthur said.
"It's a terrible tragedy, that's what it is," said Gregory Abram of Hempstead, an attorney for the home's owner. "I don't know what led to that."
William Spangehl, 65, who lives across the street, said he was making coffee when a neighbor rang his door and told him about the fire. "I didn't see any flames," Spangehl said. "There was smoke coming from the back of the house."
With William Murphy,
Jennifer Barrios and Emily Ngo