NEW YORK - It was a minor tabloid scandal: a Bronx high school teacher caught having a sexual relationship with a student. She was 32. He was in high school, 17 or 18. Soon, they moved in together and she was pregnant. They bought wedding bands.
But they began to argue, from issues about how they would raise their son when he was born to how the student, though still a minor, drank rum. And as quickly as it had begun, the illicit relationship seemed to be over and they had resumed their separate lives at DeWitt Clinton High School, she as a science teacher, he as a student.
Over the next four years, the woman, now a former teacher - her teaching certification was revoked because of the relationship - attended graduate school and raised their son. The former student, Isaac Duran Infante, paid child support and occasionally visited, but was otherwise kept at a distance.
On Monday (Dec 26), the former teacher, Felicia Barahona, and the boy, Miguel, four, were found dead in their apartment in Upper Manhattan, the New York Times reported.
Barahona was found on the living room floor with an electrical cord wrapped around her neck; Miguel was in the bathtub, the police said.
Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said in an email that both deaths had been ruled homicides.
By Tuesday, detectives were trying to learn as much about Duran Infante as possible. And on Tuesday night, the police announced that Duran Infante, 23, had been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
The charges against Duran Infante made for a shocking turn in a story that, until her death, had cast Barahona as either a malefactor or a punch line.
Her photograph has appeared in The New York Post and The New York Daily News in recent years, as the tabloids chronicled a spate of prohibited, and often illegal, student-teacher relationships.
One law enforcement official, who was not authorised to discuss a continuing investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Duran Infante had given detectives a statement, although its contents were not immediately known.
The New York Post cited authorities as saying he had told them he was angry Barahona had dressed their son as a girl.
Barahona’s half brother, Jaime Bravo, said she and Duran Infante had also argued over how Miguel was being raised. “It was over who gets the kid, how do we figure out what payments are done, if he’s going to pay support or not,” Bravo said.
The details of the intimate relationship between the two are laid out in a 2012 memorandum by the office of the special commissioner of investigation for New York City's schools. It was not immediately clear how closely they had been involved in each other's lives since then.
According to Bravo and other relatives, Barahona had been moving on with her life. “She had a fall from grace and was piecing things back together,” Bravo said, adding that she was studying forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and worked there as well.
Duran Infante's family could not immediately be reached for comment.