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Parents of teen killed by Metro-North train demand details on death

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YONKERS (PIX11) – Jeni Wallace said she can still remember the sirens she heard around 2 a.m., in the early hours of September 29, 2013.

“We were awake, when we heard the ambulances by our house,” she said. “We heard the ambulances.  We didn’t know it was Matthew.”

The ambulances were heading to the Metro North Wakefield station, just over the Bronx border, several blocks away.

Matthew was her 17-year-old son, a popular student and athlete at Mount Saint Michael Academy in the Bronx.  He was talking of being an FBI agent.

Jeni—a healthcare executive—and her husband, Lynwood—an advertising executive—had allowed their middle child out for the first time on his own that night.

“Usually, I drive my kids everywhere,” Jeni Wallace recalled through tears, “but he said ‘Mom, I’m going to be going to college in a few months.  Can I please go out with my friends by myself?’  And I let him go.”

The decision proved to be fateful, because MTA police later received information the group of friends was drinking, before heading into Manhattan on Metro North.  Wallace’s parents later heard Matthew had gotten sick and was trying to get home….to make curfew.  That’s when things went terribly wrong.

Matthew Wallace was spotted on surveillance footage in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal after midnight, in the early minutes of September 29th, 2013.  He was supposed to board a train on the Harlem line with his classmate from Mount Saint Michael, but Matthew was seen veering to the left, eventually getting on the New Haven train.

Sources tell PIX 11 a couple on the New Haven train tried to help Matthew Wallace, when it was clear he was in distress.  They took him off the train at Mount Vernon East and made contact with his classmate.  The man and woman summoned a cab and asked the driver to take Matthew Wallace to the Wakefield train station in the Bronx, which was close to Wallace’s home.  PIX 11 was told Wallace’s friend didn’t know his address—and neither did the couple.

The cab driver left 17-year -old Matthew at the top of the enclosed staircase and told him to wait.  The driver pulled away and later saw Wallace still sitting on the steps.  But there’s a five to eight minute window when no witness reports seeing Wallace, and when the northbound train from Grand Central pulled into the Wakefield station after 1:40 am—with Wallace’s friend on board—Matthew was on the tracks and fatally hit.

Wallace’s parents have been desperately trying to piece together the final minutes of his life, and they’re upset the Wakefield station has no surveillance cameras that can give them any clues.

“I’m certain if you go to other major stations, like Scarsdale, there are tons of cameras,” Lynwood Wallace told PIX 11, standing on the platform at the Wakefield station, “whereas down here, there are no cameras.”

Wallace’s parents had concerns he may have been robbed and chased onto the tracks.  They told PIX 11 his gold, St. George medal was missing. Wallace’s parents also said his wallet was missing.   “We’ve searched everywhere, and we can’t find his wallet,” said the teen’s father.  “All over the house; we’ve torn apart his room…his school locker.  It’s missing.”

PIX  11 learned the teen was found with $60 in his pocket and his iPhone.  When we asked MTA police for a statement, Chief Michael Coan told us, “ The circumstances surrounding the death of Matthew Wallace continue to be investigated.  However, at this time, it appears to be a tragic accident.”

PIX 11 learned police spoke to nine teens, male and female, who were out with Matthew Wallace that night.  Police also spoke to the couple on the New Haven train and the cab driver.

Wallace’s parents have been overwhelmed with love and support from the Mount Saint Michael community, along with old classmates from St. Barnabas, where Matthew attended grade school.

The principal at Mount Saint Michael—Brother Steve Schlitte—said of Matthew’s death, “It was devastating.  He was a very popular kid.  Always happy, always positive, always upbeat.”

Matthew Wallace had been honored as a Boy Scout at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and was a champion equestrian, as a child.

One of Matthew’s teammates from the lacrosse and football teams, Joseph Alba, said, “I woke up that morning, and I saw it all over Facebook.  He was one of my best friends.”

Matthew’s football team started winning games after his death, and they always carried his #22 jersey to the field for the coin toss.

“He was the heart of the team,” friend Nolan Burgos said. “If we needed someone to get us excited, we would go to him.”

A large memorial of photos and Christmas decorations remains on the fence at the Wakefield overpass.  Wallace’s parents told PIX 11 they remain overwhelmed by the love they received at their son’s wake and funeral.

“So many kids came in and said ‘Matthew was my friend, when nobody would be.  Matthew stuck up for me.  Matthew wouldn’t let kids pick on me.  The fact that so many people came out and affirmed he was a good person, it meant a lot to us.”

Mount Saint Michael Academy has set up a scholarship fund in Matthew Wallace’s name.

The school address is:  Mount Saint Michael Academy, 4300 Murdock Avenue, The Bronx, New York 10466.

The Wallace family asks anyone with new information to contact their attorney, Alexander Gastman.  The phone number is (480) 442-7862.

25 comments

  • Gina

    No parent should EVER go through this. I know Matt and his family…such a close,wonderful family. This should never had happened. I hope after seeing this…if anyone knows anything they will have the courage to come forward!

    Justice for Matthew!

    Always in my prayers .

  • Brendan

    Hopefully mrs. Wallace can get all the answers she is looking for. It’s terrible that a mother lost her son, and parents should never have to bury a child. Hopefully there was no criminal act involved. I can only pray that Jeni gets her questions answered and finds some form of closure to this horrible situation.

  • Angelic Lutz

    Thank you so much for taking the time to help this family. Matthew’s family needs answers. If this were my child, I would want answers too. I will continue to lift the family in our prayers and pray for closure.

  • Anonymous

    No parent should ever have to bury her child. If you know anything, please contact officials. Please help Jeni Wallace find the answers she needs!

  • Shannon dametta

    Thank you for sharing this story. I pray that it helps in filling in any missing pieces to what happened that night. My heart aches for Jeni and her family

  • Ananda

    Please continue digging into the circumstances of the death of Matthew Wallace!! Seems after that news broadcast there are still more questions than answers . The pain this family is going thru is devastating and heartbreaking! Please don’t stop until there is justice for Matthew Wallace!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you WPIX for taking this story to the public

      I hope & pray it will get answers for the Wallace family

      I will continue to pray that Jeni & her family get the answers they deserve

      Justice for Matthew

  • Mrs. Garcia

    I’m saddened that a parent must go on without knowing what caused her child’s death.. This inconceivable. I how PIX 11 can help her get the answers she rightfully deserves. My condolences Jeni Long-Wallace.

  • Eileen Riley

    Our whole community is heart broken for the Wallace family. Matthew was a wonderful and loving boy who is greatly missed. I am happy that the media is involved in hopes that this beautiful family finds the much needed answers into his tragic death. I pray for them daily.

  • lucy

    This is such a devastating story. I hope this exposure helps lead to the answers the Wallaces are seeking.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you WPIX for getting Matt’s story out to the public

    I hope this will help people to come forward & the Wallace’s can get the answers they need

    Continuing to pray for Jeni & her family

    Justice for Matthew 22

  • Anonomous

    Thank you to Pix 11 for covering this story. I hope this helps the Wallace family find the answers and closure they deserve. No parent should ever have to endure the loss of their child.

    Justice for Matthew

  • Anonymous

    My heart goes out to the Wallace family during this tragic time. My deepest condolences, and my thoughts and prayers are with the Wallace family. I hope by sharing Matthew’ story we can bring justice for him and his family. #JusticeForMatthew

  • Liz and Rich Moran

    Thank you for airing the story of the tragedy of Matt Wallace. Sadly it leaves more questions than answers.

    Mr and Mrs Wallace deserve more of an answer of this was a tragic accident, I’m sorry that answer isn’t good enough.

    I hope that this story puts the heat on the MTA

    God bless the Wallace family, I don’t think any parent could have watched that interview last night and not cried right along with them.

    Give the Wallace family the answers they deserve

  • Margaret

    I hope the media attention will help shed light on this tragedy. Im sure northern zip codes have security cameras – why doesn’t Wakefield? Someone out there knows something, I pray they are moved to come forward with information. Thank you pix11 for airing this story.

  • KAY Rose

    I’m praying that the Wallace family receives the answers they need to get closure. No parents should have to go through this tragedy. Thanks to WPIX 11 for putting this story out. MTA should work on putting cameras at all stations. I’ve been at Wakefield Sta. in the evenings and it is very desolate.

  • Anonymous

    This is really heartbreaking and sad this family deserves justice for the loss of their child as a mother I can’t even imagine what she is going thru I didn’t know Matthew personally but I heard he was a good kid. I hope they get justice for Matthew Wallace!!

  • Cinta

    I hope this news story will help keep the authorities focused on finding out what happened to Matt on that tragic night. The Wallace family remains in my prayers for the loss of their wonderful son. I hope the truth of what happened will come to light and ease some fraction of their agony. RIP Matt.

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