Valaree Megan Schwab died after police say that she was attacked in New Rochelle, New York, on January 10. Police say that Schwab, 16, had been bullied by a group of teenagers when she pulled out pepper spray and tried to ward them off.
One of the teens in the group has been accused of pulling out a knife and stabbing Schwab, who died from her injuries.
Her family held a funeral for her at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Pelham, New York, on Monday, January 15.
Anyone with information pertaining to this case is asked to contact the New Rochelle Police Department’s General Investigations Unit at (914) 654-2270.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Police Say She Was Stabbed at a Dunkin’ Donuts After ‘Standing Up to Bullies’
It was approximately 12:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday when Schwab walked to a Dunkin’ Donuts in New Rochelle near her school. Police say that Schwab was walking with a male friend from a McDonald’s to a Dunkin’ Donuts when she was confronted by “a group of five or six students,” all believed to have known each other from New Rochelle High School.
Two girls, identified as Schwab and Z’Inah Brown, ended up getting into an argument, but it is unclear what the two girls were fighting about. In the moments that followed, police say that Schwab took out a can of pepper spray and used it to ward off the kids who had been bullying her — and that’s when things turned ugly.
Police say that Brown “used a steak knife to stab [Schwab] twice in the upper torso,” according to the Daily Mail. Brown and her friends then left the scene of the incident.
Schwab was taken by ambulance to Jacobi Medical Center, but later died from the injuries that she sustained.
2. Z’Inah Brown Has Been Charged With Second Degree Murder
Although Brown fled the scene of the altercation, police were able to identify her and started looking for her. Fliers had been posted around the area and online, and authorities encouraged Brown to turn herself in, according to ABC 7. Less than 24 hours later, Brown turned herself in.
She was arraigned in New Rochelle City Court on Thursday, January 11, and has been charged with second-degree murder. A judge ordered that she be held without bail. She is currently at Westchester County jail awaiting her trial.
Police have not publicly identified any of the other students who were at Dunkin’ Donuts when the incident occurred.
3. New Rochelle School District Released a Statement Following Schwab’s Death
New Rochelle High School staff had been informed about the incident that occurred on January 10. The school announced that grief counsellors would be available to students and that additional security measures would be taken to prohibit any kind of “retaliation.”
Below is the statement that the school sent out after learning about Schwab’s death. In their statement, the school reveals that Schwab wasn’t in school on the day of the incident. It is unclear if the other students who were at Dunkin’ Donuts had also missed school that day.
“The City School District of New Rochelle is saddened by the incident on North Avenue today in which a New Rochelle High School student was stabbed. The student was not in school today and the incident did not happen on school grounds. New Rochelle High School and School District officials are cooperating fully with the New Rochelle Police Department in this matter. The High School and District will make counselors, social workers and other professionals available for students and staff who require assistance for as long as is necessary. All other information about the incident should come from the New Rochelle Police Department.”
4. Schwab Was Described as an ‘Outspoken Political Activist’ Who Loved Music
Those who knew Schwab spoke very highly of her. A junior at New Rochelle High School, Schwab had recently obtained her learner’s permit and bought her very first car — a Camaro — according to her obituary. She was a good student, focused on “advanced placement and honors classes.”
Schwas was also described as an “outspoken political activist who rallied friends together to fight injustice.”
Like other teenagers, Schwab loved music. Not only did she enjoy going to concerts with friends, but she was also a musician in her own right. She played guitar and “wrote her own songs,” even posting some on YouTube.
5. She Is Survived by Her Parents & 2 Siblings
Schwab is survived by her parents, Christopher and Karen Schwab, and her two siblings, Brittney Schwab and Austin Corbett. She also had an older brother, Christopher “CJ” Schwab, who passed away in 2003 at the age of 18.
According to her obituary, Schwab was an aunt to Lilliana and Aiden Corbett.
A memorial for Schwab was held on Friday morning at the Dunkin’ Donuts where the altercation took place. Friends put out candles and flowers in honor of the deceased high school student.