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  1. #1
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    Default A sad story in stamford CT

    Friends tried in vain to help Russian girl

    By MARIAN GAIL BROWN mgbrown@ctpost.com

    Kristina Kalganova boarded a plane from Russia nine months ago with only a backpack, a carry-on suitcase and $150 in her back pocket.

    With three years of college under her belt, the waif-like 21-year-old aspired to an expatriate life of travel and adventure. That much she achieved.

    But tragedy ended her American sojourn in a few seconds on Sunday as the car she was in plunged into a muddy Stamford pond.

    Now, Kalganova's friends and family face the grim task of scraping together the money to ship her body back to her native country in a plain, wooden coffin for cremation.

    "She was so much fun," said Jane Oleksy of Norwalk, a friend who had known Kalganova since they met as teenagers in a Moscow club.

    Kalganova died Sunday after her boyfriend apparently lost control of the speeding car he was driving and plunged

    roof-down

    into Stamford's Holly Pond. He allegedly freed himself and fled, leaving her to die.

    The boyfriend, Francisco Loaiza, 29, of Stratford, was arraigned in Stamford Superior Court Tuesday on a charge of second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle. He is being held in lieu of $150,000 bond.

    Police said speed and alcohol appeared to be factors in the 2:30 a.m. crash. They also said neither Kalganova nor Loaiza was wearing a seat belt.

    Stamford police said officers who were in the area investigating a series of motor vehicle break-ins picked up Loaiza as he fled.

    They said the suspect didn't cooperate at first, then gave conflicting accounts, initially saying he'd been alone in the car, then that three people had been inside.

    The only body police divers found in the murky waters was Kalganova's.

    Oleksymet Kalganova in a Moscow dance club on New Year's Eve four years ago. The two, then in their late teens, struck up a conversation.

    "Kristina asked me if I was from around there and if I knew anybody. When I told her no, she took me around [introducing] me to people," said Oleksy, who lives in Norwalk with her husband, Michael.

    "I knew her for about a year there, then I came to the United States and we started writing to each other," she said.

    The two became best friends.

    Oleksy believes her letters to Kalganova about her life in America inspired her friend to come here and enroll in a Connecticut college.

    Kalganova was admitted to Norwalk Community College, her friends said, and was supposed to start classes next week.

    A college official was unsure which classes Kalganova had registered for, but said the college had expected her.

    When Kalganova arrived in May she came with few clothes and belongings. Even the Oleksys were surprised.

    "She needed clothes. She needed everything. I gave her some sports pants and other things. And my mom gave her some things, too," Jane Oleksy said. "My mom went out and bought her a blow dryer, brushes, shampoo, too."

    For eight months, Kalganova lived with Oleksy's mother, Yelena Williams, in Bridgeport. She had a few household responsibilities.

    Then she met a boyfriend

    Loaiza.

    The Oleksys formed an opinion of him early on. So did Williams: They thought he was bad news, a bad influence, and they told Kalganova so.

    "This was the first person Kristina ever knew here that she kept from me. She didn't want me to meet him. She knew I'd disapprove," Oleksy said.

    A rift developed.

    In November, Kalganova moved out of Williams' house and into Loaiza's place.

    The two best friends not only stopped seeing each other, they stopped talking altogether.

    Michael Oleksy said Kalganova had a somewhat misleading nave air about her.

    "Kristina was 21 years old, and, yet, if you looked at her, you'd mistake her for a 15-year-old. She was small and petite," he said. "She was a capable, confident person. But she was also very impressionable. You'd almost feel like she needed a little looking after."

    Williams said she warned her daughter's best friend about her new boyfriend.

    "One day I told her, 'Kristina, you have a boyfriend who has all this money, money, money and no job and never has any work any day. You call him and he's like a taxi cab, showing up outside your door,' " Williams said. "Just where do you think he gets it from?"

    That question hung between them, unanswered.

    In the meantime, Loaiza allegedly lavished gifts on Kalganova. Versace. Gucci. Ralph Lauren. All the top-drawer designer labels. The newest styles.

    Suddenly, the young woman with the hand-me-down clothes had a new, expensive wardrobe.

    The Oleksys and Williams think Loaiza is a drug dealer.

    There is a drug case pending against him in Bridgeport Superior Court. According to court records, Stratford police arrested him on Nov. 17 on charges of operating a drug factory, sale of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school and sale of hallucinogens.

    Back in Russia, Kalganova's parents are beyond grief-stricken about their eldest child's tragic death, the Oleksys said.

    Michael Oleksy said the death of his wife's best friend evokes a well-known tragedy 36 years ago in Chappaquiddick, Mass., involving Mary Jo Kopechne and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

    "How can anybody leave somebody to die like that?" he asked. "This is the lowest of the low, leaving somebody in a car like this. I could understand and hope that he has remorse. But from everything I see, [Loaiza] has none."

    The saddest part, the Oleksys said, is that neither they nor Kalganova's parents have the money to pay for a casket and to transport her remains back to Russia.

    "We can't afford it. But we can't let her parents see her and memorialize her like they want to. So we are trying to come up with the money to cremate her. That much, we hope, we can do for her," Michael Oleksy said.

    "I went by the pond where she was killed. There was some ice on it. And I put this bouquet of flowers that remind me of her on the ice," he said. "Then I took out my camera and shot a video and took a picture that we will send to Kristina's parents

    so that they can know where she died. We think they would want that.

    "When I look at pictures of her, I see a girl with the face of an angel

    truly," said Michael Oleksy. "She had a very fair complexion, white-white skin and the pale blonde hair."

    Contributions to a trust established in Kristina Kalganova's memory may be sent to Frank Johnson, trustee, P.O. Box 1438, Fairfield, CT 06824.


  2. #2
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    Default

    He left her to die. Didn't even try to get help. I put my vote in for strapping him to a drivers seat in a car and then rolling it into a pond for about 20 minuts before you pull it out.

    David Larson

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by DTLarson
    He left her to die. Didn't even try to get help. I put my vote in for strapping him to a drivers seat in a car and then rolling it into a pond for about 20 minuts before you pull it out.

    David Larson
    ...and strap that woman, Susan Smith, who drowned her babies a few years back, right along side him.

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