Friends of Tequila Suter knew something definitely was wrong when she didn’t show up for the noon worship service Sunday at Hills Tabernacle on Genesee Street.
Suter was a dedicated member of the small Pentecostal congregation and rarely missed an opportunity to worship.
“Tequila is normally there every Sunday,” said her mother, Sharon Suter.
The pastor was so concerned he asked another parishioner, Suter’s friend, Kalima Clark, to check on Suter.
Clark immediately called her brother, who was the supervisor of the Lackawanna apartment building where the two women lived. She asked him to go into Suter’s apartment and make sure she was OK, according to accounts provided by family and friends.
The apartment supervisor and the building’s landlord found Suter’s body at about 1 p.m., and Lackawanna police said she died of an apparent stabbing.
“It looks like it was stab wounds,” Capt. Joseph Leo said, without providing any more details.
Lackawanna police believe Suter, 26, was killed where she was found, possibly Saturday afternoon or evening.
No arrest has been made, and detectives were mum on whether they have a possible suspect or even a person of interest in the case.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Lackawanna detectives at 827-6410.
Suter lived in a downstairs apartment in the building at Wilkesbarre and Lebanon streets, in Lackawanna’s 1st Ward.
Clark has an upstairs apartment in the same building, and the two women were former work colleagues at Baker Victory Services, where Suter was employed for four years.
“She was just a sweet girl,” said Clark. “Tequila didn’t have no enemies at all.”
Suter left Baker Victory in May and had been working two jobs in recent months – as a teacher’s aide at Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled and as a counseling specialist for Home Space, according to friends and family.
She also was studying toward an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and child psychology, said her mother.
Because Suter’s car needed repairs, Clark often drove Suter to work. Clark was planning to do so Saturday night, too, until she received a text message around 7 p.m. indicating that Suter had found a ride for her 11 p.m. shift.
Clark assumed everything was OK until she learned later that Suter didn’t show up for the shift and hadn’t called in sick – which Clark said was out of character for the reliable, hard–working Suter.
The two usually went to church together on Sundays, too.
A 2006 graduate of Lockport High School, Suter moved to Lackawanna to be closer to her job at Baker Victory Services.
Sharon Suter described her daughter as outgoing and dedicated to helping people.
“I used to be concerned about her being a single woman by herself, but she would say, ‘Mom you don’t have to worry about me, I have lots of friends,’ ” said Sharon Suter.
“She is just too nice of a person, too loving, and she would do anything in the world for anybody,” she said. “I can’t figure it out. It’s a mystery right now.”