She Finally Reunited With Her Father. Then He Was Killed in the Subway.

There is an unfinished wooden dollhouse sitting in the attic of Janna Volz’s mother’s house that her father made for her 8th birthday.

It has sat unvarnished for almost two decades, gathering dust. But this year, for her 26th birthday, she had planned to finally paint it with her father, now that he was sober. He had found stability following years of hardship and homelessness. They just needed to set a date.

But on a Monday evening in March, as Jason Volz, 54, stood on the platform at a subway station not far from his home, he was pushed to his death. The man that police charged with murder, Carlton McPherson, had severe mental illness and bounced around the city’s shelter system, according to his family.

For the city, the killing marked another calamity to be quickly absorbed into the city’s debate over safety on the subway. But for those who knew him, Mr. Volz’s death was a blow made all the more painful because of the difficulties he had already survived.

Mr. Volz had been homeless until recently and battled addiction for most of his daughter’s life, she said. He was largely absent from when she was 3 years old until she turned 18. But recently, they had reconnected.

For Ms. Volz, last week marked the sudden end to a life her father was just getting a handle on.

“I just wish he could live out his sobriety and the clarity he had for longer,” Ms. Volz said.

Back to top button