Tampa-area agency head dead in murder-suicide

Anthony Weiss

(JTA) — A Jewish agency head who had been deeply involved with caring for migrant children was found dead with her longtime partner in what police are calling an apparent murder-suicide.

Rochelle Tatrai, the president and CEO of Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, and partner Sean Ray were both found dead of gunshot wounds on Thursday at Tatrai’s Largo, Fl., townhouse, according to a report by the Tampa Bay Times. As of the Times’ Thursday report, police had not yet determined who was the shooter and had not released a motive.

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Anat Cohen at The Sheldon


The 16-year-old daughter of Tatrai and Ray discovered the bodies.

According to the Times, police were not certain whether Tatrai and Ray were married, although Tatrai has been identified in previous news reports as Rochelle Tatrai-Ray. Ray did not live with Tatrai at the time of their deaths. The couple also had a 20-year-old daughter.

Tatrai had appeared prominently in local news media over the summer as she and her organization worked to shelter unaccompanied children who had fled to the United States from Central and South America. According to a previous report by the Tampa Bay Times, GCJFCS was housing 16 children in a shelter and was seeking to expand its shelter to 32 beds.

In an interview with the Times, Tatrai argued against fear and mistrust of the children in the community.

“These are children and they’re scared,” she told the Times. “If people had better perception and knowledge of the situation, they’d feel better, I think.”

She added, “It’s the lack of knowing that breeds fear.”