Two teachers, friends and colleagues at Avon Elementary School, died shortly after giving birth this Spring at the same hospital.

Virtually everybody in the boro echoes the words of the mayor: it's just unbelievable.
28-year-old Melissa Farah and 35-year-old Valerie Scythes were friends. They both taught special education at Avon Elementary. Both were expecting a first child this Spring.

Scythes gave birth first on March 23rd at Underwood Memorial Hospital in Woodbury. Five days after delivering a healthy baby girl, Scythes died after suffering from undisclosed complications.

"A situation like this, you can never prepare for it. You have the happiest day followed by the saddest day," said attorney John Baldante, who represents Scythes' husband James.

Melissa Farah was due a few days after her friend died.

Her husband's attorney said she told friends she was worried that what happened to Valerie might happen to her.

On April 11th, she delivered a healthy baby girl also at Underwood Memorial. She died from shock due to bleeding the next day.

Both families hope final autopsies will provide answers.

"It is certainly possible that these two events are totally unrelated and part of our investigation will be to determine if this is coincidence or if there is some relationship," said Baldante.

Underwood Memorial is also investigating.

"Our treatment protocols seem to be well in line with or consistent with what I'll call appropriate treatment care," said hospital spokesman Richard Bellamente.

Both women loved teaching, and at Avon Elementary, students, parents and fellow teachers adored them. Adam Layden was in Scythes' class last year.

"She was very funny and had a big smile and was always happy," said Adam.

"If there was any silver lining, it would have to be that a healthy baby girl was born twice," said Adam's mother, Karen.

Funds have been established to help both babies.

For Melissa Farah's daughter, checks should be sent to:

Grace Melissa Farah UGMA Fund
Pinnacle Food Group Inc.
6 Executive Campus
Suite 100
Cherry Hill, N.J. 08002

For Valeria Scythes' daughter, checks should be sent to:

Isabella Rose Scythes Trust Fund
409 Mantua Avenue
Woodbury, N.J. 08096