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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an element one among two tales spotlighting the life and tragic lack of Melissa Veltidi, whose troubling demise occurred whereas she was being cared for at Amethyst House, Staten Island’s solely girls’s sober dwelling facility.

Melissa Veltidi

Melissa Veltidi of Haverstraw in Rockland County died at age 27 on July 22, 2021, after turning into unconscious at Amethyst House on Staten Island. (Courtesy of Anita Newell)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The household of Melissa Veltidi, 27, — who misplaced consciousness at Amethyst House in July 2021 and later died — stated she was a “unbelievable mom” with a “big coronary heart,” and enthusiastic concerning the arts and nature.

Veltidi of Haverstraw in Rockland County was on the cusp of restoration and a contemporary begin in life when she died on July 22, 2021, at Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton, in response to her bereaved household.

While Veltidi’s reason for demise is listed as “undetermined,” the way of demise is “a number of drug intoxication,” in response to the medical expert. That is regardless of her demise coming at a time when Veltidi was solely taking prescribed, and never illicit medication.

As relations proceed trying to find solutions about how Veltidi died whereas in therapy at Amethyst House in Port Richmond, they don’t need their beloved daughter and sister to be outlined by her dependancy.

“She was a unbelievable mom,” stated Veltidi’s mom, Anita Newell, who declined to have her granddaughter’s identify printed within the Advance/ “The approach she handled her daughter was with a really, very optimistic perspective. She by no means gave her daughter any negativity, which I believed was stunning.”

Amethyst House shuttered final 12 months. Multiple whistleblowers beforehand instructed the Advance/ that the greater than 40-year-old secure haven for girls in search of sobriety grew to become a home of distrust and neglect over the previous few years, alleging mismanagement, lacking drugs and misplaced belief.

Camelot of Staten Island stated it plans to reopen the power underneath new management.


For years earlier than arriving at Amethyst House, Veltidi didn’t obtain the assistance she wanted for a number of points that Newell believes stemmed from her daughter being sexually abused as a toddler.

“She all the time fell by way of the cracks,” Newell stated. “She by no means received the right psychological well being care.”

Veltidi was cycled by way of numerous psychological well being and drug-addiction packages the place she was overprescribed drugs as an alternative of receiving discuss remedy or different assist wanted to beat her issues, alleged Newell. Over time, Veltidi grew to become depending on prescription drugs and avenue medication, together with opioids and sedatives, her mom stated.

“The therapy is all drugs, that is [some medical professionals’] reply to the whole lot as an alternative of looking for the basis of this downside,” Newell stated. “When you’re so drugged up, you’re in a fog.”

Veltidi discovered find out how to manipulate medical doctors and different suppliers to acquire medication to feed her dependancy, her mom stated.

“She knew what to say to get what she wished when she did go to those folks,” Newell stated of medical doctors and different suppliers. “I can’t even let you know how a lot medicine she was on at one time. It was so terrible, and she or he stored attempting to get off of the drugs. She would go to a distinct therapy middle, and they might say, ‘Well, you want this medicine.’ It was only a circle.”


Newell needed to converse quietly as a result of Veltidi’s grade-school age daughter was taking singing classes in a close-by bed room.

“Her daughter misses her terribly. I’ve received to cease…” Newell stated, breaking down in tears earlier than taking time to regain her composure to proceed an interview with the Advance/

Veltidi “had an enormous coronary heart” and was a “very caring, loving” lady, stated her sister, Jacqueline Zabrowski. “She was an exquisite mom and pal.”

Memorial for Melissa Veltidi, 27

A Chinese lantern and balloons have been launched at a memorial service held for the primary anniversary of the demise of Melissa Veltidi, 27, of Haverstraw in Rockland County, who died on July 22, 2021, after collapsing at Amethyst House on Staten Island. (Courtesy of Anita Newell)

The 27-year-old mom loved drawing together with her daughter and likewise taking her baby to enjoyable occasions, reminiscent of gala’s, stated one other of Veltidi’s sisters, Kristi Veltidi.

An beginner photographer who captured creative photographs, Veltidi preferred attending electric-light music festivals and dancing freestyle with buddies, Kristi Veltidi stated.

Even into maturity, Veltidi managed to keep up a childlike means to see the nice in everybody and the whole lot, in response to her household.


“Anyone who had met Melissa noticed she was a free spirit, an open-minded thinker who by no means judged anybody she got here throughout,” her obituary said. “She was outspoken and passionate and had a love for music and creativity. Melissa all the time noticed the nice in folks and she or he ensured that she raised her daughter with that very same open-mindedness, positivity and energy.”

Said Kristi Veltidi, who was one month shy of 16 when her sister was born: “She was very sturdy and really good. She didn’t understand how good she was. She by no means knew, she by no means gave herself sufficient credit score.”

Melissa Veltidi

Melissa Veltidi of Haverstraw in Rockland County died at age 27 on July 22, 2021, after turning into unconscious at Amethyst House on Staten Island. This is one among her child photographs. (Courtesy of Anita Newell)

As a untimely child, Veltidi “sort of needed to wrestle in the beginning of her life,” and that probably gave her energy, Kristi Veltidi stated.

Veltidi grew up in Congers in Rockland County, the place she attended Lakewood Elementary School and Clarkstown North High School. Her mother and father divorced when she was a toddler.

“She was like my little sidekick,” stated Zabrowski , who’s about 11 years older than Melissa. “I used to take her all over the place.”

Melissa “was an eccentric, lovable woman who beloved to attract and paint, and she or he preferred to trip her bike,” Zabrowski recalled.

“I all the time consider her as this little fairy,” Zabrowski added. “She was very whimsical. She didn’t do any theater or something, however she was very a lot similar to just a little performer in life.”

Melissa Veltidi as a young child

Melissa Veltidi of Haverstraw in Rockland County was about 4 years previous when this photograph was taken. (Courtesy of Anita Newell)

Alan Veltidi remembers many idyllic days spent at Lavallette on the New Jersey Shore together with his deceased daughter when she was younger. She appeared to be happy swimming within the ocean and enjoying together with her many buddies within the seaside neighborhood, he stated.

Veltidi dabbled in studying find out how to play the piano and the violin with some instruction from her step-mother, Janis Veltidi. Alan Veltidi stated he remembers serving to his daughter with many faculty initiatives, together with one based mostly on a fictional ebook about what would occur if rats swarmed Staten Island.

Although Veltidi participated in lots of therapy packages for her points all through the years, she was unable to attain peace of thoughts, a lot much less long-term restoration.

“She didn’t wish to be the individual she was,” Newell stated of her daughter. “There was such hope for her and she or he struggled every single day. She had demons in her head, however you’d by no means realize it. Everybody who met her beloved her. She was a fantastic younger woman.”

Melissa Veltidi

Melissa Veltidi of Haverstraw in Rockland County died at age 27 on July 22, 2021, after turning into unconscious at Amethyst House on Staten Island. (Courtesy of Anita Newell)


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