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By Mail Foreign Service
Updated: 08:49 GMT, 21 December 2010
Friends baffled by suicide of dedicated worker who was committed to charitable causes
Tributes to woman who was ‘joy to be around and to work with’
An attractive banker and charity worker described as having ‘everything anyone could want’ jumped to her death from the roof of the 40-storey Trump Place building in New York.
Jessica Fashano, 27, was found face down in a third-floor courtyard in Manhattan just after 8am on Saturday morning in a suicide that has left her friends and colleagues as baffled as they are distraught.
Her shocking plunge from an enormous height led one witness to say the sound of the impact was ‘so loud I thought part of the building was falling.’
Suicide: Jessica Fashano jumped from the roof of trump Place on Saturday
Fashano had worked as an analyst with Citigroup since graduating from Georgetown University in 2005 and was so well thought of – thanks in large part to her charity work – that she featured in the company’s recruitment video.
She led fundraisers for the Acumen Fund, which makes small-business loans to people in developing countries, and recently helped coordinate an event for Harboring Hearts Housing, a charity that provides affordable accommodation for heart patients.
‘She just had everything someone could want to be successful,’ said friend Michelle Javian.
‘She was always the leader, had everything organised.
‘It’s like something just changed overnight. Something just snapped, and we don’t know.’
At work, colleagues posted messages of remembrance on her Acumen profile page with Yasmina Zaidman commenting: ‘I can only imagine the impact that this will have on so many people that love her and admired her generosity and warmth.’
Seth Nemeroff said: ‘I am truly shocked and saddened. Jessica was a joy to be around and work with.’
Trump Place: Miss Fashano rode a lift to the top before jumping to her death
Kim Ward wrote: ‘Her smile, energy and generosity will be remembered forever.’
Miss Fashano’s Facebook profile has been removed but friends set up their own tribute page to her on the social networking site where friends remembered her kindness.
David Velasquez called her ‘One of the kindest people I’ve ever known’ while Ed Mak commented simply: ‘Not a bad bone in her body’.
Miss Fashano’s final movements, police said, saw her leave her own apartment 16 blocks away, enter the residential Trump Place building and take a lift to the roof.
A resident who had returned from walking her dog rode with Miss Fashano in the lift.
The woman, who declined to be named, said Miss Fashano was dressed for the cold in Ugg boots and a winter jacket, and asked how she could get to the roof for views of the Hudson River and New Jersey.
Tragedy: Fashano was admired and respected for her professional expertise and extensive charity work
She described Miss Fashano as seeming alert and aware.
Police do not suspect foul play and said she was undergoing treatment for depression.
However, friends and workmates said she was always in high spirits.
Ramzi J. Ramsey, a former colleague, said her death came as a ‘pretty big shock to me, because she honestly had one of the biggest hearts that I knew.’
According to her profile on Acumen’s Web site, Miss Fashano was inspired by The Blue Sweater, a book by Acumen founder Jacqueline Novogratz, which preaches entrepreneurship as a solution to poverty.
Acumen’s co-chairwoman, Nina Sharma West, said that when they needed someone to help manage its 500 volunteers Miss Fashano ‘was really a natural pick.
‘Whenever anyone wanted anything done, we could always lean on Jess.’
Since July 2009, she added, Ms. Fashano had been instrumental in organizing three events that helped raise more than $50,000 for the fund.
Miss Fashano had told friends she hoped eventually to work full-time for private non-profit organisations and was a regular fixture on the charitable circuit in the Hamptons and Manhattan.
‘If there was a room of 30 or 40 people, you would definitely know if she was there or not,’ said Mr. Ramsey.
‘I don’t want to say louder, but she had a very unique laugh.’
The $3bn Trump Place development, built by mogul Donald Trump with six civic partners, covers a 56-acre site on manhattan’s Upper West Side with 16 apartment buildings and around 5,700 residential units.