Daphne Abdela was convicted of the 1997 murder of Michael McMorrow, along with her friend Christopher Vasquez, in Central Park, New York. Abdela and Vasquez, both 15, reportedly stabbed and gutted McMorrow before throwing his body in Central Park Lake.
Daphne's parents were purportedly killed not long after she was born, forcing authorities to put her up for adoption. A wealthy family adopted her. Angelo, her adoptive father, was an Israeli-born top executive in an international food company. Her adoptive mother Catherine, was a French-born model. Both parents were deeply scared of the child they raised and nurtured. Daphne had the best of everything her parents could give. She went to private schools, she went on exotic vacations, but the 15-year-old was very clear about the hatred toward her parents. It's been speculated that Abdela was denied the supervision and guidance she needed as she grew up. Daphne was so hostile toward her parents, that Angelo took out a restraining order on her.
Daphne's favorite hobby was rollerblading at Central Park. She and her parents lived adjacent to the park, at Central Park West. One day while rollerblading, she met a young altar boy named Christopher Vasquez. Vasquez, according to the author of the book, "Baby-Faced Butchers", Stella Sand, was a nerdy-looking kid with glasses. He had very few friends, bad hair, and usually wore golf or polo shirts. When he met Abdela, they began rollerblading usually every day. Vasquez was from the other side of the tracks. While Abdela was rich, Vasquez was fairly poor, and his family lived in a four-story walk up apartment. He suffered from anxiety disorder, and was even clinically depressed. He used psychotropic medication to control his mental anguish. Christopher attended the exclusive Beekman High School, but hoped to prove his toughness by joining a gang. Upon joining the gang, his personality changed. According to a friend, "He was never in school. He punched my friend in the face at this party... for no reason." Because of his many flaws, Daphne took him in right away. The manipulative Daphne saw a vulnerability in Vasquez that she used to her advantage. Vasquez was so flattered to the attention from Daphne, that he constantly clung to her. She was likely one of his only friends, and the only girlfriend he ever had. Abdela would torment Vasquez by flirting or pretending to have romantic interest in him in one minute, and would reject him the next. Together they would sneak smokes, and drink alcohol. Abdela had a huge alcohol problem. So much, that she became a member of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) at just 15. Though her sponsor didn't appear to help her at all, Daphne would often ignore him and drink anyway. Angelo and Catherine eventually removed her from her competitive private school and put her in a alcoholic rehabilitation program. At night, Abdela would go to Central Park along with Christopher Vasquez, and hang around with other drinkers. People often described Daphne and Christopher as "baby-faced", and very competitive. Daphne's friends believed her hair-trigger temper was deeply worsening. They tried at many lengths to avoid her, but it wouldn't deter Abdela's attitude. "She always tried acting like she was from a bad neighborhood," a friend claimed. Daphne always tried flashing her wads of tens, and twenties, and even one hundred dollar bills or more to impress people around her.
On May 22, 1997, Vasquez accompanied Abdela to rollerblade at Central Park. Upon going there, she tells friends and other people that "I'm going to kill someone tonight." No one ever believed her though. It just sounded like one of her idle threats. She always threatened to kill someone, and even told tales about her slicing people with a knife. That day, Abdela showed Vasquez a switch blade and told him, "I'm gonna slice someone." In a way, it was a way for her to vent her enigmatic rage at the world. Vasquez had his own knife. While smoking a cigarette, he grins and says, "I'm in." Throughout the rest of the day and night Abdela and Vasquez had been drinking. Michael McMorrow was a Manhattan real estate agent who was single and lived with his 80-year-old mother Margaret. He was a regular in the park. Abdela briefly knew McMorrow, first meeting him in alcohol rehab. She knew him as "Irish", an apparent nickname of McMorrow's. Abdela and Vasquez find McMorrow in Strawberry Fields in a group-circle telling a story. They convince him to come to the lake with them. Upon arriving at the lake, Abdela hands him a beer, and they briefly sit. Not long afterwards, both Abdela and Vasquez threaten McMorrow with knives, before Vasquez lashes out on him and begins stabbing him several times, he then knocks Abdela down, to which she kicks him in his legs to push him down. Michael initially began pleading for his life. After stabbing him several more times, Abdela told Vasquez to "slice him from ear to ear", and he slits his throat. When the teens finish, both McMorrow's wrists and nose are almost severed. Abdela then tells Vasquez to gut McMorrow "so it woud sink", likely explaining her desire to throw his body in the lake. Nearly every part of McMorrow's body was fatally stabbed. At the time, Abdela had moved back in with her parents. Her father called police when she was out past her curfew. While Angelo was on the phone with police, his daughter Abdela and her friend Vasquez were in the basement washing the blood off of each other. When police arrived asking Angelo questions, they search the basement and find Daphne and Christopher covered in blood. Though most of it was cleaned off, Daphne tells both officers that they fell rollerblading. Both buy it, and leave. Later on, Abdela calls police and makes an anonymous tip that there was a body in Central Park Lake. Police trace the tip to the Abdela residence. Abdela ignored her father's pleas to say nothing without a lawyer. When the police arrived, they find Abdela eating a bowl of Mac-and-Cheese. She immediately tells the police that it was in fact Christopher who commited the crime, and tells them that he gutted the man and then threw his body in the lake. When police were working on fishing Michael McMorrow's body out of the water, Daphne started yelling, "I tried to help you! I tried to give you CPR!" But when police saw the body, forty inches of intestines were floating near the body, CPR would've obviously never helped.
Police were not convinced with Abdela's empathy. They arrest her and Vasquez immediately with manslaughter charges. The District Attorney was very skeptical that a jury would simply convict the two teenagers of a First Degree Murder charge, so they were charged with manslaughter. The kids gave the jury so little details, that they couldn't even figure out who stabbed McMorrow first, or who didn't at all. Witnesses came forth with information about the odd couple, a lot of them fed up with Abdela's asserted unpredictable behavior. Some weren't even surprised about the killing, while people like Vasquez' parents were. Abdela had apparently told so many tales about her life that no one believed her when she said she would commit murder on May 22. The murder trial became a sensation, and Abdela and Vasquez became known as the baby-faced killers. Some photos of Abdela and her innocent looking nature became the reason for the label. Daphne never seemed too concerned about what her legal fate was going to be, even turning around to her parents on the first day of the trial to mouth, 'I love you'. Daphne Abdela and Christopher Vasquez were sentenced to 10 years in prison for the manslaughter charge. They were denied parole two times, and only served six years of that sentence before being released in January of 2004.
- Daphe's parents were millionaires who hired Micheal Jackson's former lawyer to defend her.
- Daphne Abdela is portrayed by Kirsten Haussmann in the episode "Love Sick". Haussmann also portrayed Nicki Reynolds in the episode "Killer Kids".
- After Abdela and Vasquez were released, a friend of McMorrow noticed a note on the bench honoring McMorrow in Strawberry Fields, Central Park. The note read "I tried to save you - D", leading him to believe that Abdela left the note.
- Daphne sued a couple who apparently crashed their car on accident injuring her and confining her to bed in 2009.
- Daphne Abdela and Christopher Vasquez still live in New York City.