‘Divorce Stress’ Didn’t Cause This Father To Kill His Child, Being A Monster Did

father commits murder suicide - Zuzanna and Emanuel

Zuzanna with Emanuel as a baby.

Often, when faced with a story of unimaginable horror, the media grasps to find something, anything to blame it on. That is exactly what happened yesterday when the Chicago Sun Times reported on the ghastly murder-suicide committed by Robert Bzdek, a 34-year-old father. According to reports he stabbed his 3-year-old daughter Zuzanna and then killed himself.

According to the Sun Times, Zuzanna’s step brother Emanuel Szyszka says it was “the strain of divorce” that drove Bzdek to stab his young daughter to death before taking his own life in their home in Woodridge, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Officers discovered Bzdek around 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, after having hanged himself. Zuzanna, who was called Zuzia by family, was found close by with multiple stab wounds, She was just barely clinging to life as they rushed to her an area hospital, but later died in surgery.

I want to be clear, I have the utmost compassion for Szyszka. According to a public post on his Facebook page, he was the one to first realize what was going on and call the police:



I’m sure the stress and strain of such a gut wrenching situation has taken its toll, so I completely understand the urge to find something or someone to blame. What I don’t understand is why a well-known publication such as the Sun Times would report on his comments, written during a time of extreme emotional turmoil, as if they were the gospel truth. Divorce doesn’t cause murder. Being a sick bastard does. I can’t help but wonder how Zuzanna’s mother feels. I’m sure she’s heartbroken, and probably already blames herself. The last thing she needs is a respected media outlet insinuating that her divorce caused the death of her child. And the last thing anyone needs is more fuel for the MRA-woman-haters whom I’m certain will be quick to put all of the blame on the mom.

(Photo: Facebook)

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  • brebay

    Wow, this kid should NOT be making an affidavit on his FB page, that will come back to bite him on his ass. All this shows is pre-meditation. The 2×4, etc. What a crazy story, but this post is disturbing in and of itself. People really need to censor themselves on FB. And no, this is not “stress” except in the sense that most murderers probably feel some kind of stress, you know, like everybody else.

    • http://flockeoseagulls.flavors.me/ Frances “Librle” Locke

      Honestly, the story seems off to me, but I wonder if that’s just because the kid was in shock.

    • Byron

      Wait, are you saying the stepson is the actual killer and he’s trying to make his dad seem like the killer? That’s rather far-fetched! lol

    • brebay

      Where the hell did you get that? No, that’s not at all what I said.

  • FemelleChevalier

    I’m not going to deny that Robert committed a horrible crime, but if the medical record shows that he has psychiatric issues beforehand, it is possible that stress did cause him to do that. It’s what happened when mentally and emotionally unwell individuals experience triggering events.

    Yes, publicly sharing a murder case willy-nilly is wrong. But this should not automatically result in MRAs pointing fingers at women; it could only be case of a troubled individual who committed a crime and nothing more. No need to drag gender inequality to this without proper information.

    • JLH1986

      Back in August a local woman was met at work by her soon to be ex husband, he chased her into work and shot her 5 times before killing himself. She survived but she is now quadriplegic. Initially, everyone was blaming her for the divorce etc. It came out much later that he DID have mental health issues, the divorce was a trigger and he stopped taking his medication and seeking help. So this could absolutely have been a triggering event for a mentally ill adult. He could have hid this well. I would argue that most people who commit murder/suicide are mentally ill.

    • Byron

      Everyone has a breaking point. Not a “stab your kid and kill yourself” breaking point perhaps but if pushed enough people will crumble with sometimes ugly results.

      To say that the divorce caused him to hit his breaking point is a reasonable statement. Who it might end up blaming ought to not factor in when deciding weather or not it should be said since the fact that it is reasonable makes it worth mentioning regardless of the collateral damage.

      It is likely that he’d not have done these acts had he not been divorced so it makes sense to pick the divorce as the one easy to pinpoint factor that if altered it would result in a different outcome.

    • JLH1986

      There were lots of things going on behind the scenes (which unfortunately were aired after the fact). He had been threatening her, she had told a judge she thought he had stopped his medication since during their marriage she was the one who reminded him to take it, the threats were via text and there is currently no provision allowing for TRO or EPO based on cyber/text threats. But I think the stress of the failing relationship, facing an actual divorce, plus not taking medication or attending his counseling sessions ended very terribly. As for this man, I think at the very least the feeling of hopelessness and despair could have pushed him to take a very final act.

    • FemelleChevalier

      As someone who is diagnosed (thankfully not severe), there are things that can definitely set us off. And I find that some countries are lacking in emotional support needed by individual with emotional/mental problems. So illness + slight triggering event = potential destructive behavior.

      I will also argue that most people who commit murder/suicide is mentally ill, but it wouldn’t hurt to look at it. We don’t know what their lives are, so to point and judge as if we have a right is a tad presumptuous on our part.

    • JLH1986

      No judgment. I think it’s incredibly sad. Many of my clients have committed violent offenses because they weren’t receiving the right help or the right meds. Then some clients knew exactly what they were doing and didn’t care. I don’t like that people are automatically labeled a monster, when it could very well have been mental illness at play. I’m also not a fan when someone who is a “monster” is given a mental illness label because then the general public begins to assume that all people with mental illness are capable of such violence. Which isn’t true. I’ve found that in the mentally ill population that illness+poor coping skills+lack of resources+assumption of violence=potentially destructive behavior.

  • shorty_RN

    Yes, he is a monster, but I can’t help but wonder if there was underlying mental illness. I would bet there was. We NEED to rethink the way we handle mental illness in our society so tragedies like this happen less often. My heart breaks for that baby girl.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      oh my god, I totally and whole-heartedly agree.

  • Kay_Sue

    This is what happens when people don’t consciously uncouple.

    • Robotic Socks

      Wish someone uncoupled that dad’s head before


    • Kay_Sue

      Ditto, Socks.

  • Guets

    The divorce could have been one of those things that triggered a mentally ill person to murder. The problem I have when they “blame” the divorce is that it insinuates that the other spouse is to blame for divorcing them. That is most definitely not the case.

  • Katherine Handcock

    Yes, divorce is stressful, but as other commenters here have said, divorce stress does not push a 100% mentally healthy person into murder. I think it’s also important to remember, though, that “not mentally healthy” isn’t the same as “mentally ill” from a legal point of view. If his thought process was, “I’m distraught and believe my daughter is better off dead alongside me,” I totally agree that a failure of the system for providing mental health assistance. But if his thought process was, “I’ll show that bitch that she shouldn’t have screwed with me,” that’s different, and the responsibility lies 100% with him.

    Either way, the divorce is a background fact, but not the root cause of the tragedy.

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