December 1, 2021

Kin of slain man seeks funeral aid

The family of David Sears-Lopez, who died Wednesday of a stab wound following a fight on Maple Avenue in Cortland, is asking for help paying for his funeral and his Puerto Rican mother’s travel expenses.

A GoFundMe fundraiser, organized by his sister-in-law Rachel Morgan, is trying to raise $4,000 to offset the expenses.

Cortland police arrested Harold John Young, 56, formerly of McGraw, on charges of second-degree murder, a felony, after witnesses identified him as the man who stabbed Sears, also known as David Lopez and as David Sears.

Young is being held without bail in the Cortland County Jail pending an appearance at 9 a.m. Monday in Cortland City Court.

“I never in a million years thought this would happen,” Morgan said.

Just three days before Sears-Lopez’ death, he was visiting with his mother before she moved back from Pennsylvania to Puerto Rico, Morgan said.

“She just moved back the day he died,” she said. The family broke the news of the death over the phone.

How to help

To contribute to funeral expenses for David Sears-Lopez, go to

Sears-Lopez, 28, leaves behind a 5-year-old daughter, two sisters and four brothers.

He was raised in Puerto Rico, moving when he was about 11 to live in Reading, Pennsylvania, she said. In his late teens, Sears-Lopez moved to Cortland and graduated from Cortland Junior Senior High School.

His daughter by his high school sweetheart was the light of his life, Morgan said.

“He loved his daughter more than anything in this world,” she said. Though no longer together, Sears-Lopez and his daughter’s mother were great at co-parenting the child, and he loved cooking for his little girl.

“He’s Puerto Rican, so he’s got the flavors,” Morgan said. “She always wanted Daddy’s chicken and rice and beans.”

Over the weekend, Sears- Lopez shared plans with his family to start a food truck business selling Puerto Rican cuisine, she said.

“That was his next aspiration here,” Morgan said. “That would have blown up here, I can tell you that.”

Sears was employed at an Aldi’s distribution center, she said.

“He was holding a good job,” Morgan said. “He stuck to himself. It was literally work and his daughter and his family.”

Morgan’s husband, Sears- Lopez’ brother, accompanied Sear-Lopez to 19 Maple Ave., where the stabbing occurred, she said, and drove him to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center. Sears-Lopez was airlifted to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse where he later died during emergency surgery.

“It’s very traumatizing,” Morgan said.

Sears-Lopez’ father traveled from his home in Reading, Pennsylvania, to be with the family.

The family would like to have a funeral for Sears-Lopez’ in Pennsylvania after an autopsy, but funding is an issue.

“We don’t have a date yet,” Morgan said. “We’re still trying to get help.”