Community reflects on death of Jaclyn McGuigan

Woman stabbed by son outside of Catholic church in Rockville, motive remains unclear

Monica Godnick
news editor

Former Wootton student, 21-year-old Kevin Justin McGuigan is accused of murdering his mother, Jaclyn McGuigan, outside St. Raphael’s Catholic Church in Potomac the evening of Dec. 28. Jaclyn McGuigan was a mother of three and a breast cancer survivor.

According to The Washington Post, McGuigan slashed his mother in the neck. Two witnesses, alarmed by Jaclyn McGuigan’s screams, saw him run away and called the police. McGuigan has been charged with first degree murder and has been taken into custody in the Montgomery County jail system. Additionally, he has a pending mental health evaluation since Jaclyn McGuigan informed a Maryland judge that her son was suffering from drug-induced paranoia back in 2016.

The reason why they were at the church parking lot remains unclear. St. Raphael’s Youth Minister Annie McHugh said that they weren’t leaving from any service or activity from within the church. “The events that happened were tragic and horrible. The blessing is that so many people from the St. Raphael Parish are praying for this family,” McHugh said.

An anonymous source from the community said that McGuigan had been in and out of the criminal justice system and may have experienced a number of traumatic experiences while in detention. It also appears that there had been some form of dispute between the mother and the son leading up to the incident.

Senior David Mejía said he has gone to St. Raphael’s Church his whole life and that hearing such news hit close to home. “I was surprised to hear that there was a murder at St. Raphael’s church. What frightened me the most was the fact that he was a Wootton student plus he was a freshman when my sister was a senior. Especially in this area where events like that don’t occur are a cause for concern for myself and the people around us,” Mejía said.

The church is located near neighboorhoods that are districted to Wootton. Sophomore Tiam Pourdarvish often goes to the neighborhood nearby because she has friends and family there. “I am a little worried about my friends and family and also the environment. It also happened right across my old elementary school, Ritchie Park, which is very alarming. I hate how things like this happen too frequently. I just hope everyone else in the community is safe,” Pourdarvish Heydari said.

Sign Language teacher Lea Clark said she had both McGuigan and his brother as her students. “Kevin was in my Sign Language 1 and my Sign Language 2 classes. He was just like every other teenager. He came to class and he went, he didn’t really try super hard, he was pretty average. I know their uncle too, not extremely well, but we know of each other,” Clark said.
Clark stated she never noticed anything unusual about him while in her class. “It was pretty shocking. But again I don’t know my students outside of the 45 minutes that I see them, so who they are as people sometimes does not come out in the classroom setting,” Clark said.

Students are also concerned for the well-being of the family members affected by the tragic event. “It must be very difficult for the mom and the son’s family right now. As a community we should support the mourning family and make sure an incident like this does not happen again,” junior Nicole Sarria said.

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