Harrisburg, PA

Life after Murder: One Harrisburg Woman's Daily Struggle

Michele Orsinger

Through shock and heartbreak, a Harrisburg woman is trying to cope with life one day at a time. March 16, 2021 was a day that changed a family forever. Salvatore Gianquitto was found stabbed to death on the 1300 block of Kittatinny Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His life was stolen at the age of 35, his family is still haunted with more questions than answers. Unlike a lot of inner city murders, the alleged murderer of Sal has been apprehended. Joseph Aquayo-Quinones, 29, will have his day in court. He will stand trial for first degree murder and face the family members of a man whose life was stripped away. His life will rest in the panel of a dozen… a prosecutor will adamantly fight for a lengthy sentence… his defense attorney will attempt to excuse his actions. Sal’s family will be watching it all unfold without a voice of their own. Their voices deserve to be heard… after all, they are now the voice for Salvatore.

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A family selfie...Tessie/Facebook

While I (personally) never met Sal, the stories I’ve encountered about him tug at my heartstrings. He was a family man who doted on his young daughter, India… fatherhood was something special to him. His older sister is trying to figure out where life goes from here… life after a senseless murder. This family may have been shattered, but they aren’t giving up hope - they aren’t backing down. They want answers and they deserve answers. While closure is not in the picture, maybe they will eventually have a sense of peace. What Tessie and the rest of her family have to offer right now is what matters the most… providing the best possible future for a little girl without her daddy. Tessie is currently the biggest voice for her brother in the community. She’s his strongest advocate. The memory of Salvatore will live on because of a family who refuses to let his spirit of life die along with him.

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Memorial...Tessie/Facebook

In Tessie’s own words, “it is very hard and it’s never gonna be the same without him it’s days I think about him and try to hide my pain it’s other days I just can’t handle it and sleep all day why my lil brother I don’t understand why he wasn’t a bad person he didn’t deserve to be taken from us so soon”. What she has to say is the most common thought going through the minds of every family member (and friend) dealing with a similar situation. It’s these same thoughts that went through my mind after the murder of my best friend 10 years ago. There’s no easy answer… no simple solution to grief… no closure. It’s just figuring out how to wake up every day without them and keep moving ahead. It’s about making sure that the world remembers them the way we always will. The future is both a blessing and a curse when you walk this path. A day will surely come that Tessie and her family can find strength in the weakness they’re currently burdened with. Until then, we should offer them our unending support.

A little girl celebrated her 7th birthday yesterday without her daddy. She doesn’t understand why… she’s too young to understand why. This is an innocent child who will struggle the rest of her life because of the evil one man inflicted on her family. The only benefit that comes from this is the simple fact that her family will never allow her to forget her father. She was and always will be his everything… throughout eternity. His life and legacy will live on through her.

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A daddy watching over his daughter...Tessie/Facebook

Reaching out to Tessie was extremely difficult to do. In doing so, I had to acknowledge that I’m still not over the murder of my best friend. I had to embrace the demons that I live with on a daily basis… the same demons that Sal’s family lives with. Today, I made the decision that it had to be done. The surviving family members of murder victims need to embrace each other… we need to hold each other up in a way not many understand. It’s hard to express our feelings and our grief when surrounded by a society that thinks we should just get over it. Murder isn’t something to ever get over… it’s not something to forget or pretend never happened. The aftermath of murder goes so much deeper than most could imagine.

Sal’s family is determined to make sure he’s not just another statistic, he’s not a number to be shoved away in a police file. He was a man - a son, brother, uncle, friend, and most importantly… he was a father. His smile was contagious… as was his love of life. May we never forget him, the man he was - the man he could have become… if given that chance. His life may have been stolen too soon, we need to make sure his memory lives on. The city of Harrisburg needs to ensure that everyone remembers his name. His name was Sal...

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Salvatore...Tessie/Facebook

The murder of Salvatore Gianquitto was the 3rd documented murder of the year in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In a city filled with crime, it’s good to know that some of the community has had enough. They are stepping up and sharing what they know… they are providing surveillance videos (if they have them). Crime will never be stopped, but if we come together for the purpose of good - maybe, just maybe, the crime will decrease.

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My mission is to provide the world with inspirational, educational, and real life stories. Almost everything created is done so in an editorial way. It's important to me that readers can find articles to read while feeling like they're part of the story.

Mechanicsburg, PA
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