Man whose burned body found in Lynn was father of young boy, family says
Family members of a Lynn man whose burned body was found in a public park last week remembered him on Saturday as the father of a 3-year-old boy who often visited relatives and still called his own mother “Mommy.”
The body of Tito L. Lopez-Ebanks, 29, was found in Frey Park Thursday afternoon near a ball field by a person walking a dog, the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement Saturday.
“He was affectionate, he wasn’t bad, he wasn’t bad. He was loving with me [and] his sister,” Patricia Ebanks, his mother, said in Spanish during a phone interview.
His aunt, Mary Ebanks, said she considered Lopez-Ebanks her “oldest son.”
“Who would have thought that I would have to live through this?” she said in Spanish. “Who had the courage to do this? He wasn’t a bad guy.”
On Saturday, the Essex district attorney’s office identified Lopez-Ebanks, but released few other details. His death remains under investigation by the district attorney’s office, the Essex State Police Detective Unit, and Lynn police, according to Blodgett’s office.
Lynn police spokesman Lieutenant Michael Kmiec directed questions to the district attorney’s office.
The State Police Special Emergency Response Team searched the park for evidence Friday but did not search again Saturday, according to David Procopio, a State Police spokesman.
Lopez-Ebanks’s body was found about four months after a teenager’s body was found in another Lynn park. Herson Rivas, 17, was found dead Aug. 2 in a wooded area of Henry Avenue Playground. Six members of the violent MS-13 street gang have been charged in connection with Rivas’s death.
Patricia Ebanks said police stopped by her home Friday at 2:30 p.m. to speak with her. She was notified by police around 7:30 p.m. that investigators had identified her son’s body, she said.
Authorities said Lopez-Ebanks was living in Lynn, but his mother said she did not know where he was staying. He would go to Lynn sometimes, she said, but she would not know why.
The family has not made funeral arrangements, she said, because an autopsy has to be performed first.
Lopez-Ebanks’s son lives with the boy’s mother and maternal grandmother in East Boston.
“His son is very cute,” said Mary Ebanks.
Patricia Ebanks remembered the way he’d joke around with her about the child.
“He loved messing around with me,” Patricia Ebanks said. “Like, ‘Mom, you are going to be a grandma again.’ ”
Lopez-Ebanks had a sister, and the pair fought, but “like siblings,” Patricia Ebanks said.
“They loved each other a lot because they were the only children,” she said. “He was a happy, joking young man.”
His mother and aunt said he frequently visited family members’ homes. Mary Ebanks said her nephew was generous and would share food if he had it.
“Tito was a polite man. He was not rude. I could reprimand him and he never disrespected me. . . . He was very loving,” she said. “All I can say is that I will always love him,” Mary Ebanks said.
When he stayed at her home, Patricia Ebanks said, she’d hear him in the early morning hours as he rummaged in her kitchen.
Her son’s visits were always joyful.
“He would hug me and tell me, ‘I love you, Mommy,’ ” she said.