Teen Arraigned in Fatal Garfield Avenue Stabbing

Special to the Record

A 17-year-old female is being held without bail in the stabbing death of 19-year-old Cyndell Rodriguez in Chelsea. The investigation into the facts surrounding the fatal altercation continues, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said.

Ava Najafi, 17, was arraigned Aug. 23 in Chelsea District Court on a charge of murder. Under Massachusetts law, juveniles starting at age 14 who are accused of murder are charged as adults and face a potential term of life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Police were on Garfield Avenue investigating the stabbing.

At the request of Assistant District Attorney David Bradley of District Attorney Rollins’ Homicide Unit, a judge ordered that Ms. Najafi be held without bail while the case against her is pending.

Members of the Chelsea Police Department responded to a report of shots fired in the area of Garfield Avenue shortly before 9:30 p.m. on August 19, 2021.  Upon arrival, they located Ms. Rodriguez suffering from knife wounds to her throat and chest.  She was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital for emergency treatment but tragically succumbed to her injuries.

Detectives assigned to the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit as well as Chelsea Police detectives collected evidence and witness statements.  This information indicated that the victim was among a group of individuals who became involved in an altercation on Garfield Avenue with another group. Ms. Najafi was among the individuals in the second group.  Based on evidence collected amid the ongoing investigation, prosecutors allege that Ms. Najafi fatally stabbed the victim during the altercation. 

“This is a17-year-old who was just charged with murder and a 19-year-old has lost her life. These two young women should have been preparing for other milestones in their lives – like starting their senior year in High School, returning to college, or figuring out what their next job or opportunity is going to be. Instead, one has had her life taken and the other is charged with murder. I want the community to be aware that women and girls are deeply impacted by violence. Not only as the family, loved ones or significant others usually left picking up the pieces but also as perpetrators and victims,” District Attorney Rollins said.  “I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Rodriguez’ loving family. They are devastated and heartbroken.  My office and I will continue to be available to provide them with the all the support, resources and services they need and deserve. I also, in the presence of defense counsel, offered my condolences to the guardians of the 17-year-old girl who is now facing a murder charge and a potential life sentence with the possibility of parole. They are devastated and heartbroken. These are two teenagers.  One gone forever and one forever changed. This is a tragedy for all involved.”

Anyone with information on Ms. Rodriguez’ murder or any events leading up to or following the Thursday August 19 fatal altercation is asked to share what they know with police and prosecutors.  Those who would like to provide information may call the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at 617-727-8817 or the Chelsea Police Department at 617-466-4805.   Edith Ayuso is the assigned victim witness advocate.  Ms. Najafi is represented by attorney Philip Tracey.  She returns to court October 22, 2021.

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