Coroner rules Canton deaths murder-suicide Small town comes to grips with tragedy
CANTON - Debrah Reese of Canton, who lives next door to the house where an shooting incident now ruled as a murder-suicide took place Sunday morning, was at a loss as to why such a tragedy occurred.
"Just plain crazy" were the words she used, when asked for comment Monday about what might have been the motivation.
Teesha Rieco, 24, was found deceased inside her East Main Street residence Sunday, according to state police at Towanda. She was shot. Police said 44-year-old Curtis Chisman, also of Canton, was found severely wounded. Chisman, who resided at 173 South Washington St., Canton, was transported to Robert Packer Hospital Sunday morning. He died at the hospital later that evening.
Both suffered from gunshot wounds.
According to Bradford County Coroner Tom Carman, Rieco's manner of death was ruled a homicide and Chisman's manner of death a suicide.
Carman said that autopsies were completed on both Rieco and Chisman. He said that Rieco's cause of death was exsanguination, secondary to head and back penetrating trauma as a result of gunshots. Exsanguination is blood loss. Chisman's cause of death was cerebral herniation, secondary to a contact gunshot, Carman said.
Reese, who lives next door off East Main Street, on Fassett Street, said that around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Rieco's youngest sister came over to her house, screaming for her to call 911. "My neighbor came over here frantic," Reese recalled. "She said her sister was bleeding."
Quickly, Reese dialed 911 on her cell phone. Rieco's sister went back to the house, and then came back over to Reese's house three to five minutes later. Reese said that Rieco's sister had been trying to resuscitate Rieco. Reese said the sister was sobbing and crying.
When asked for comment, Rieco's mother said that Chisman was also abusive. Rieco had been living on the third floor of the home, where the incident took place. Rieco's mother said that Chisman lived in low-income housing and was married, with a child in that marriage.
Reese said she went over to the house, and a family member asked her to take Rieco's young daughter and another young child, who was in the house, to watch them, in the wake of the incident.
"It was so sad," Reese said. "It was just a bad day in Canton."
Reese knew the little girl, noting that the child called her "Freddy" for some reason, and she let the girl keep calling her that name. "I let it stick," she said.
According to Reese, the little girl didn't realize what had happened. "She said we're going to keep our door locked," Reese said. "She didn't know that the danger was already in the house."
Reese called the girl "a little sweetie." In addition to the girl and the boy, Reese said there was a month-old baby boy in the house, and she assumed someone took the baby out of the house in the aftermath of the incident. The baby was the child of Rieco and Chisman, she and Rieco's mother said.
Reese said that she moved to the area from Baltimore, Md. She said that she wouldn't be surprised by such an incident, if it took place in the southern metropolis, but she didn't expect something of this nature in a small town like Canton.
Her son, Samuel Reese, 25, was also home at the time of the incident.
"It was unbelievable," he said. He thought it was also sad.
Debrah Reese was surprised by the murder-suicide, noting that a few days before the incident, Rieco and Chisman had talked with her on her porch.
"It just seemed normal, and it seemed OK."
She tried to console the family on Monday. "I just took over the family a pitcher of sweet tea," she said.
Reese and Rieco's daughter, and the girl's great-grandmother, released balloons Monday in memory of Rieco.
A resident on Fassett Street, Rick Segur, said, "it's a tough thing to see in a little town."
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.