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Four-year-old pleaded with father to spare mom’s life

Emilio Delarosa.Methuen Police Department

Emilio Delarosa, a Lawrence man accused of murdering his former girlfriend after years of abuse, strangled her to death as their 4-year-old boy pleaded with him to spare her life, according to court records.

“No, Dad,’’ the child shouted as Delarosa choked the boy’s mother, Wanda Rosa, in her Methuen apartment Monday morning, according to the records. “No Dad!”’

On Tuesday, authorities issued a warrant for Delarosa’s arrest on murder charges. He remains at large.

After the attack, Delarosa covered Rosa’s body with a purple quilt then left the home with his son, according to an affidavit filed this week to support a criminal complaint against Delarosa.


He drove to his sister’s Lawrence home and dropped his son off around 4:50 a.m. after telling her, “It’s over. It’s over. It’s over,’’ the affidavit stated.

Delarosa’s sister contacted Methuen police, who forced their way inside Rosa’s apartment. She was rushed to Holy Family Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

On Tuesday, the 4-year-old reportedly said in an interview with officials at the Essex Children’s Advocacy Center that his father “went crazy and choked Mommy,” while he was in bed beside her.

During the interview, the boy told investigators his mother didn’t say anything after the attack “because she died.”

A neighbor of Rosa’s told police she was awakened around 3 a.m. by the sound of loud noises, then heard a boy scream, “No, Dad! No, Dad!” according to the affidavit. The neighbor said the noises stopped, so she didn’t call the police.

Delarosa had threatened to kill Rosa for years, telling her in 2011 that “this child is going to be left without a mom.” Five months later, he put a gun to her head and smothered her until she saw black, according to court documents.

Delarosa was sentenced to four years in prison for the attack, and before he was released in January, Rosa was granted a restraining order against him. But she wanted their son to have a relationship with his father, and in July the order was modified at her request to allow him to visit so they “could do things together as a family.”


In the May 2012 attack, he told Rosa that he planned to go to her mother’s house and shoot everyone there. He grabbed her by the hair, pointed a gun at her head, and choked her until she almost passed out, according to court documents.

At one point during the attack, Delarosa ordered her to open a bag, where she found duct tape, rope, and zip ties, the documents state. To placate him, she promised to move to Florida with him and got into a car with him and their son.

As they drove south on Interstate 95, Rosa escaped at a service area in New Jersey, where workers hid her and called police, according to the documents.

Delarosa pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, and assault and battery causing serious bodily injury. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Months before Delarosa was released, Rosa brought their son to visit him in prison. She told Delarosa he could have a relationship with the boy as long as he did not expect one with her. She was seeing someone, she told him.

In a chilling response, Delarosa said he regretted “not finishing what he started,” records stated.


Evan Allen of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Laura Crimaldi can be reached at John R. Ellement can be reached at