Friends of Colleen Brownell said she was living with her sister, Alysia McCloskey, in Collingswood, to get away from Burlington County resident Mark Lyczak, who is charged with their murders.
By Matt Skoufalos | December 31, 2017
Friends say a woman who was allegedly stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend had moved in with her sister in Collingswood to get away from him.
People close to Colleen Brownell said her ex, Mark Lyczak, had become overbearing to the point that she’d moved in with her sister, Alysia McCloskey, and McCloskey’s two children.
Brownell reportedly had been quietly planning to move out of state, and may have feared that Lyczak would someday confront her, or come to reclaim her dogs, friends said.
Lyczak is charged with the murders of Brownell and McCloskey and the attempted murder of a third woman who was evacuated from McCloskey’s Collingswood home Saturday evening.
Unconfirmed reports say that third woman, who remains hospitalized with wounds sustained in the attack, is Lyczak’s current girlfriend.
McCloskey’s children are in the custody of their father, who does not live at the home. Lyczak is in police custody awaiting formal indictment.
Domestic violence has been at the root of the last several reported homicides involving Collingswood residents, including the cases of 36-year-old Joseline Perez, who was killed by her estranged husband in the Parkview Apartments in August 2016, and Shelley Johnson, who was killed by her boyfriend in Philadelphia in 2012.
Quick Stop owner Seema Singh, who was killed by her husband in Pennsville in July 2016, did not reside in Collingswood, but operated a storefront there for 17 years.
Bernadette Maull of the Camden County Women’s Center said that women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than by anyone else. Distressingly, when they prepare to leave a bad situation is often when they are most at risk.
“Domestic violence is always about control,” Maull said. “Domestic violence behaviors escalate when that control is perceived to be dwindling or removed. What starts out as a push or a name-calling that we tend to view as minimal, it takes a path, and the violence escalates in severity as the control is perceived to be removed.”
Maull said the Women’s Center offers shelter and outreach services as well as a county-wide response team for women who may be in crisis. She encouraged residents to keep a close eye on relationships that seem possessive or demeaning, and offered the center’s case management services for 24-hour referral.
“There are certain things that we as a society accept as marital discord, or [think] ‘that’s private, we shouldn’t interfere’,” Maull said. “We need to educate everyone on what [domestic violence] looks like.”
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