Update 10/22: Morgado's neighbor in Ossining, Robert Kelly, declined to comment regarding his former neighbor except to say, "What I read in the local paper is pretty true...I don't have anything to add," referring to accounts of Morgado and Dr. Reish's relationship published in The Journal News.
“She’s just a wonderful, loving, caring human being and she just loved her son unconditionally,” said Aymee Duran, 52, about her friend of 20 years, Manuela Morgado.
Morgado—the 46-year-old Mamaroneck mother awaiting trial on second degree murder charges in connection with her son, Jason Reish’s, death—was found by police on Oct. 1 in a semi-conscious state, cradling her son’s dead body in what was believed to be a murder and attempted suicide. Unsettling details of Jason’s death were brought forth in a felony hearing earlier this week.
Yet, Duran describes the woman she affectionately called “Manny” as being so concerned about her unborn son’s welfare while she was pregnant that she got rid of both her dogs prior to giving birth, perhaps in an effort to protect him from unseen dangers.
Duran was “flabbergasted and devastated” when she heard the tragic news of Jason’s death.
“No one would have ever imagined this. She had to have been in a dark, dark place,” said Duran, who last saw Morgado in May.
Morgado was the stepsister of one of Duran’s close friends when they met in New Jersey in the late ‘80s, she said. Morgado's mother recently passed away and she has two brothers.
Duran stayed with Morgado at her four-bedroom home on Grace Lane in Ossining after Jason was born, a home she shared with Dr. Tim Reish, Jason’s father. Sometimes Morgado would babysit Tim’s two sons from a previous marriage when they came to visit from Ohio.
Morgado and Tim were engaged when she found out she was pregnant with Jason, said Duran, and "were looking forward to getting married."
According to Duran, Morgado and Tim separated soon after Jason was born.
“It started getting heated between them—she had to ask her neighbors to help her move out,” she said.
Morgado lived in New Jersey with Jason but moved to Mamaroneck to be able to bring her son back and forth to Briarcliff Manor for visitation with his father, despite the financial strain she felt as a single mother.
“There were too many years of too much struggle,” she said about the time Morgado spent battling Jason’s father in family court regarding her son's schooling.
"Unfortunately she felt there was no resolution in sight since the courts always seemed to side with Tim," she said, continuing, "She looked forward to someday having some resolution with Tim over the issues regarding Jason. Her focus was Jason and providing a stable environment for him."
She described Jason as “a sweet, very energetic, very loving boy,” that she would often send gifts to.
As for Tim, Duran said, “I don’t take away from what he’s feeling—no one should ever go through this.”
Morgado is at the Westchester County Jail awaiting a grand jury trial.
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