Years before double murder-suicide, Norwalk dad held knife to infant daughter’s throat, restraining order shows

NORWALK — Four months before police say Yimi Moncada killed his children and himself in March 2020, he assaulted their mother and tried to sexually assault her, according to a restraining order.

About four years earlier, Moncada threatened to kill himself and held a knife to the throat of the couple’s infant daughter, according to a previous restraining order.

Maria De Jesus Valdovinos Lopez has filed a lawsuit against the city and police department, alleging they didn’t act fast enough to save her children who she found dead hours after reporting them missing in March 2020, court documents said.

The latest restraining order was obtained in November 2019 — about four months before Moncada took the children, Gisselle, 5, and Jesus, 4, for a routine visit as part of a custody agreement with his ex-wife, but never returned, court documents said.

A previous restraining order, alleging Moncada, 27, held a knife to his daughter’s daughter’s throat expired in 2016 when the couple was divorcing, court records show.

But in the documents seeking the 2019 restraining order, Valdovinos Lopez told court officials Moncada had forced his way into her home, pushed her down, kicked her in the knee and forcibly kissed her while on top of her.

Since she started living with a new partner, Moncada was “following her everywhere,” Valdovinos Lopez said, according to the court documents.

“He showed up at my workplace several times, sent me text messages to set up dates and calls me non-stop,” she said in an affidavit submitted to Stamford Family Court officials in October 2019.

“My ex-husband is a jealous, possessive and controlling person who becomes more violent when intoxicated,” she said, according to the affidavit. “I am afraid of him and fear for my safety and the safety of my children.”

Attorney Stephen Lebedevitch, who is representing Valdovinos Lopez, declined to comment on the lawsuit or the two restraining orders his client obtained against Moncada. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount for claims that her children would likely be alive if Norwalk police had acted quickly on her missing persons report filed on the evening of March 22, 2020.

Norwalk officials have declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“This was a very tragic situation and our hearts go out to Ms. Valdovinos Lopez and her family,” Michelle Woods Matthews, a spokesperson for the city, said in a statement. “It is our policy to not comment on pending lawsuits."

Moncada was allowed to take the children Fridays after school and return them at 8 p.m. on Sundays as part of the divorce agreement, court documents said. When he didn’t return with the children on March 22, 2020, Valdovinos Lopez went to the Norwalk Police Department to report them missing around 10:30 p.m., according to the lawsuit.

She was told there was a more pressing case and that an officer would come to her home in an hour to take a report, her attorney said in the lawsuit. The officer also said, “the children were with their father and were fine,” the lawsuit alleged.

According to the lawsuit, a Norwalk police officer didn’t show up to take her report until 2:50 a.m. on March 23, 2020, court documents said. About four hours later, Valdovinos Lopez went back to the police department to inquire about her children, but claims she was turned away, according to the lawsuit.

Around 7:30 a.m., she found Moncada’s car about one-tenth of a mile from the police station and discovered her children and ex-husband dead in a garage on the property, her attorney said in the lawsuit.

The medical examiner ruled Moncada died by suicide and both children were victims of homicide who died by ligature compression of the neck. The lawsuit stated the time of death could not be determined due to the frigid temperatures in the garage.

The state Department of Children and Families had interaction with the family about five years before the fatal incident, according to agency Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes.

“The mother had obtained a restraining order against the father due to domestic violence and concerns were expressed for an infant in the home,” Dorantes said in a statement. “Upon assessment, the children were viewed as safe and their needs were being appropriately met. Our involvement ended as it was reported to the agency that the father completed court-ordered programming, the prior charges were dismissed and the restraining order expired.”

In the affidavit submitted by Valdovinos Lopez seeking the 2016 restraining order, she said Moncada was physically abusive to her, wanted to get her pregnant so she would return to him and he had held a knife to their 7-month-old daughter.

“He threatens me by saying he’s going to take my daughter away and send her to his country,” she said, according to the affidavit. “He also threatens me by saying that if I don’t go back to with him, he’s going to kill himself.”

The 2019 restraining order was granted and was in place in March 2020, court documents show. According to the order, Moncada was prohibited from having any contact with Valdovinos Lopez aside from text messages about his visitation with the children. He was also ordered not to stalk, threaten or abuse Valdovinos Lopez and he was not allowed to enter her home. The restraining order was to be in place until November 2020, court documents said.