- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2002

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) A young couple who were addicted to drugs and had been thrown out of their apartment walked hand in hand onto the railroad tracks in an apparent suicide pact and embraced moments before an Amtrak train struck and killed them.
Damien J. Conners, 26, and Theresa E. LaMarca, 22, believed there was no other way out, the woman's relatives said yesterday. They said the couple were heavily addicted to drugs, including painkillers and possibly heroin.
Police said it was clear from witnesses that the couple deliberately stepped in front of the train and waited for it to hit them Monday afternoon. They had left their wallets on the station platform.
"They were holding hands, and they walked into the path of the train," Amtrak spokeswoman Karen Dunn said. The engineer "didn't have much time to react."
Mr. Conners' family declined to speak to reporters. But Miss LaMarca's family said the couple had been evicted two weeks ago from their apartment because they could not pay the rent.
"They got on the tracks and felt that was the only way out, that they had reached the end of the rope," said Barbara LaMarca, the woman's mother.
She said the two left no suicide note.
John LaMarca, the woman's father, said police told him the couple did $200 to $300 worth of drugs a day.
He said the couple broke into his house April 29 and stole nine checks. He did not realize the checks were missing until Thursday, when he learned five had been cashed for a total of $5,000. He put a hold on the remaining four.
Theresa LaMarca received a $58,000 settlement from an auto accident in which she was seriously injured. The couple quickly went through that money, her father said.
Miss LaMarca had studied computer science, and Mr. Conners recently worked as a butcher, Miss LaMarca's relatives said. The couple met less than a year ago.
Barbara LaMarca said she last saw her daughter at Christmastime. She said her daughter would not return her calls or letters.
"I would send her cards and let her know we were here and that we loved her," she said. "We would have given her another rope to help her, to bring her back."


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