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Two families wonder how their loved ones ended up in submerged SUV

Tatianna Morales and her son, Mathew.

Djovany Pierre gave a cheerful goodbye to his mother last Tuesday night and left his Roxbury home. His family believes he got into a waiting SUV, driven by Tatianna Morales.

What happened next is a painful mystery for Pierre’s close-knit family and Morales’s heartbroken fiancé. Why did the pair, who had only known each other for two weeks, wind up dead in Boston Harbor, their bodies recovered Friday from an SUV submerged in 40 feet of water?

Pierre and Morales met through social media about two weeks before their deaths, according to their families, but it’s not clear what drew them together. Pierre had graduated Charlestown High School in 2018 and was living with his family in Roxbury. Morales had graduated New Bedford High School and was recently living in Irving, Texas, with her fiancé. Both had children of their own. Morales’s son, Mathew, will turn 2 next month.

“I am not sure what they would have had in common,” said Pierre’s oldest sister, Merlinda Villarcon. “I only heard they had been speaking to each other for about two weeks through Facebook.”

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Djovany Pierre was described as "a beautiful human soul" by his oldest sister, Merlinda Villarcon.

Yeison Giron Alvarado, Morales’ fiancé, said they were working through their relationship differences and had committed themselves to each other this month. Morales had told him she wanted to help Pierre talk through some social issues he was facing, and that she was not interested in him romantically.

“She was trying to be a helpful friend,” Alvarado said Monday. “She was a good person. She was a good mother. She was the best mother my son could have asked for. She was a genuine, caring person.”

Alvarado and Pierre’s sister said the state medical examiner’s office have not released their loved ones’ remains, and that funeral services are on hold. Alvarado has established a GoFundMe page for Morales’s family, and the Pierre family has created one to offset funeral costs and other expenses.

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The deaths are under investigation by State Police assigned to Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins office. Rollins’ office declined to comment Monday.

Alvarado said law enforcement officials have told him that Morales was stabbed, but Villarcon said her brother never carried a weapon, not even a pocket knife.

A heavy-duty tow truck pulled up a submerged SUV from the water off Black Falcon Pier on Friday.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Alvarado said Morales posted a video of her in the Seaport District Tuesday around 10 p.m. but was never heard from again. Both families filed a missing person’s report on Wednesday after they couldn’t reach them by phone, which was unusual since both stayed in contact with friends and relatives.

“My heart is shrinking and falling apart,” said Merlinda Villarcon.

Alvarado said he and Morales were high school sweethearts. He was by her side in 2016 when her younger brother was murdered in New Bedford.

“Our bond was unbreakable,” he said.

Villarcon said the family has become aware of postings on social media that describe her brother as someone struggling with mental illness, including one that flatly stated that Pierre had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. She said that was not accurate.

“As far as I know, they are not the detectives, or the medical examiner, or his primary care doctor,” she said. “He has never been on any type of [psychiatric] medication. I just want to clarify that he left us in good spirits. It’s very traumatic for us to go through right now – we’ve already lost him.”

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Both families described their loved ones in nearly identical terms.

“He was a beautiful human soul,” Villarcon said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

“She was a beautiful soul,” echoed Alvarado. “She didn’t deserve this.”

Jeremiah Manion of the Globe staff contributed to this report.



John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.