Family seeks answers after arrests made in salon murder

COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Even after two men were arrested for the stabbing death of a Colonie barber, the victim’s family is still in search of some answers.

“When I think of Jackie, the pain does surface, but when I think of those two men, then my logic and rationale is going to come back to place,” Frances Drabick said.

A young Jackie Porreca with her aunt Frances Drabick. (PHOTO: Frances Drabick)
A young Jackie Porreca with her aunt Frances Drabick. (PHOTO: Frances Drabick)

Shawn Moreland, 32, and Michael Chmielewski, 23, were arrested three months after police said they killed her niece, 32-year-old Jackie Porreca, while she worked at the Recycled Salon in Colonie. Drabick spoke to NEWS10 ABC via Skype from her home in Maine.

“I want to know if they planned it for several days,” Drabick said. “I really, really need to know those details.”

Police said Moreland and Chmielewski went to Albany to buy and use heroin after Chmielewski fatally stabbed Porreca in the neck.

“Where did they stop?” Drabick wondered. “How high were they when they threw that knife in the lake? They had the rational thought to do that.”

As Drabick looked at pictures of herself and Porreca as a child, she said she had to know who Chmielewski was. She discovered he was a star athlete who earned academic awards and scholarships at Colonie High School.

“I was very impressed, and I found a photo of him where he looked like a lovely young man, and I thought that looks like a good person,” she said.

So where did things take a turn?

Police said heroin addiction was the motive behind the crime, but Porreca’s family think there’s more to the murder.

A young Jackie Porreca. (PHOTO: Frances Drabick)
A young Jackie Porreca. (PHOTO: Frances Drabick)

“I need to know if it was just them,” Drabick said. “I find it hard to believe such a vicious, sinister killing was just an act over the drugs or the need for the money.”

Police said they were able to make arrests thanks to tips called in to the department. Drabick had a message for those who came forward.

“They’re my heroes, and if I knew who they were, I’d find them and give them one hell of a hug,” she said.

Drabick also wanted to thank the Colonie Police Department. She also said she has compassion for Moreland’s and Chmielewski’s families noting the crime is a horrible experience for everyone involved.

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