The parents of a former Buckfield woman slain in Turkey last month are in that country this week attempting to get custody of their grandson, according to friends of the family.

According to news reports from Bodrum, Turkey, Esther Parker, 39, was stabbed to death in early April. Her husband, identified as 37-year-old ?hsan Bora Sengen, has been arrested and jailed in connection with her death.

The couple have a 16-month-old son and fundraising efforts are underway to bring the child to the U.S.

According to Parker family friend Anthony Buckley of Buckfield, Esther had first gone to Turkey shortly after losing her job in New York due to the Wall Street financial crisis in 2008.

Parker had a degree in economics, Buckley said.

“Being an adventurer, she went to Istanbul for a holiday,” Buckley said. “She became fairly fluent in Turkish. She liked it there.”

She moved there, getting married and landing a job as a writer and editor on an economics publication. It was not immediately clear how long she had been married.

Parker attended Buckfield Junior-Senior High School in the late 1980s and early ’90s, graduating as valedictorian of her class in 1993.

“She’s a local girl, very well liked in this area,” Buckley said. “Her loss has been a terrible blow.”

A funeral for Parker was held in Washington, D.C., on April 27. Her parents, James and Joan Parker of Buckfield, returned to Turkey to fight for custody of their grandchild. While the Parkers are there, friends and strangers have been coming together to help raise funds for the effort.

According to the fundraising website youcaring.com, “Esther Parker, our witty, whip-smart, spirited, adventurous and loving friend was killed by her husband on April 6, 2014, in Bodrum, Turkey. Her parents are now in Turkey with the goal of bringing her young son home to the United States. Their claim to custody is currently being contested by his paternal grandparents. We don’t know how difficult this road might be or how long it will take.”

Buckley said the American consulate in Turkey has been involved in the custody dispute and that Esther’s employer was also assisting the Parker family.

“People are really rallying around them,” Buckley said.

The youcaring.com fundraiser page listed nearly 300 supporters Thursday night, with many making donations of $25, $50 or other amounts. Several people left comments along with their donations.

“I remember Esther as a lovely, kind and confident woman,” one woman wrote. “We used to run into each other in New York, since we lived in the same area. I can still see her smiling face, and have been so saddened to hear about her.”

“I’ll always think of Esther’s razor-sharp wit and warm laughter,” another donor wrote.

“Her parents will need support while they are in Turkey for an extended stay and substantial legal expenses,” the webpage staes. “We want to insure that they have the resources to successfully bring Esther’s son home and take care of him as well as his mother did.”


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