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Dad: Baldwin stabbing victim tried to see good in suspect

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By Margaret Harding
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012

Karissa Kunco looked for the good in everyone, including the man police are questioning about her death, her father said on Friday.

"She was the most positive person. She was the perfect example of what a daughter should be," said Paul Kunco of Baldwin. "Her smile just made everything better."

Karissa Kunco, 21, of Baldwin went missing on Wednesday evening after leaving work at Parkway Center Mall. Police recovered her car in Cecil and surveyors found her body about six miles away, off Sabo Road in Mt. Pleasant, on Thursday. She died of knife wounds, said Washington County Coroner Tim Warco, who ruled her death a homicide.

Kunco's ex-boyfriend, Jordan Clemons, 22, surrendered to state police in Washington accompanied by a family member late Thursday. Police have not charged Clemons in connection with Kunco's death.

Canonsburg police charged him in connection with a burglary, and he was wanted for probation violations. He was jailed on charges of burglary, theft, robbery and simple assault. Canonsburg police filed escape charges against him.

"The only one who can reach my son now is Jesus," said Clemons' father, Robert Clemons Jr., 54, of Westland in Washington County. "That's who he needs."

The couple had a history of violence, investigators said. Pittsburgh police charged Clemons with simple assault in December when Kunco told police he punched her and kicked her at the home they shared in Mt. Washington. Treated for a concussion, she filed a protection from abuse order against Clemons, writing: "I fear for my safety."

"After he beat her up, I thought it was over," Paul Kunco said. "We underestimated him being violent."

The two dated for about two years, her father said. Clemons spent Thanksgiving dinner with the family in 2010, and Paul Kunco said he let it go when Clemons wrecked his daughter's car.

"She tried to see the good in him," he said. "We didn't talk a lot, but when I did see him, I shook his hand."

Paul Kunco said he has learned there were violent incidents other than the December beating.

"Both my daughters would shelter me from things they thought would upset me," he said. "I never expected violence from him."

Karissa Kunco told co-workers about the situation, and they agreed to walk her to her car, Baldwin police Chief Michael Scott said. She told Baldwin police Clemons sent her a threatening message through Facebook last week.

"We should've protected her better," Paul Kunco said. "It's easy to pick apart the situation now. I wanted her to get her life back to normal."

Karissa Kunco, who planned to take online classes at Community College of Allegheny County, loved her father's cooking and talking sports with him. Her mother, Kathy, could not be reached for comment.

"We were always there for each other," her father said. "I just want my family to heal and focus on the good memories of my daughter."

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