Briggs Avenue Teen Fall Victim Laid to Rest

Briggs Avenue Teen Fall Victim Laid to Rest
by David Greene

A close-knit Bedford Park family that is still coming to grips with the unthinkable tragedy of a teenager accidentally falling to his death, has laid the young man to rest during a private ceremony.

According to police, Leonardo Marmolejos, 15, was discovered in the rear alley of 2921 Briggs Avenue at East 199 Street at 6:17 a.m., on Thursday, August 31, which is across the street from the headquarters of the FDNY’s Engine 79 and Ladder 37.

Officers from the 52nd Precinct were called to the back of the building by a resident, one police source stated, “Officers discovered a 15-year-old male victim laying on the ground with trauma consistent with falling from an elevated position.”

Marmolejos was transported to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The source added, “A preliminary investigation determined that the victim fell from a 5th-floor fire escape. The official cause of death will be determined by the New York City Medical Examiner and the investigation is ongoing.”

Investigators believe Marmolejos, or “Lenny” as his friend’s called him, stepped out onto the fire escape to sneak a cigarette, police would find him in the alleyway and was still dressed in his pajamas.

According to the victims older sister Elainer Marmolejos, her brother had just turned 15 and was about to begin his sophomore year at The International School for the Liberal Arts at the Walton High School campus.

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Police believe Leonardo “Lenny” Marmolejos, 15, fell to his death while sneaking a smoke behind 2921 Briggs Avenue in Bedford Park.–Photo by David Greene

Elainer Marmolejos stated, “It was just a really bad accident that happened to us,” adding that her brother was a “handsome young man,” and “a happy kid.” She continued, “He had never gotten a bad report from school.”

“An accident happened,” Elainer continued, “and it just happened to be us this time.” After a pause, she added, “We’re just praying for God to give us strength to get through this and accept that he’s in heaven with God now.”

Elainer stated that her mother was taking her son’s death very hard and has been sleeping much of the time as doctors have her on medication to combat the traumatic stress of losing her son.

Asked if her brother was in the habit of going out onto the fire escape, Elainer replied, “Not that I know of,” adding that she had moved out from the apartment six-months earlier. The sister then offered, “I wouldn’t think so, we really don’t know. Only he and God know what happened.”

“I look at the fire escape,” the sister explained, “and it just looks like he fell, because he was really tall and the railing is not very high, so with his height… if he got on the steps, then there is nothing preventing him from falling.”

Elainer discounted one published account citing a police source, that hinted at a drug connection to Marmolejos death, the sister responded, “I don’t think so, he was a really good kid, going to school. Very smart. Every time we spoke I use to tell him that I love talking to him because he was so smart, so I don’t believe that at all.”

A private mass was held for Marmolejos on Saturday, September 9, at the R.G. Ortiz Funeral Home on the Grand Concourse. Friends of the family have started a GoFundMe page that has so far raised nearly $500 to cover the cost of the funeral. Anyone wishing to donate to the fund can log onto: www.gofundme.com/support-for-the-marmolejos-family.

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