Over the Waterfall

A vale of mystery surrounded Philly native Lisa Lopes' short life. Her family speaks out publicly for the first time about the strange circumstances of her death.

By Solomon Jones
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 8 | Posted Aug. 14, 2002

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"All of a sudden it's here," she says. "That's the shock. I'm going through this. It actually happened. Lisa's not here anymore. But there was a reason for that. I mean, it's like, the Lord did this for me. I'm supposed to tell other people that he can do this for them. They don't have to suffer. They don't have to be grieved for a long period of time ... It's down in your soul, down in your spirit, that yearning is there. He knows it."

They say death comes in threes. A few months after Lisa's passing, the saying came to fruition. Lisa's uncle Anthony Lopes--a disabled Vietnam veteran who had followed Lisa to Honduras and remained there, watching over her investments--died on July 17. He joined the little boy who was hit by the car and Lisa as the third one connected to die in Honduras in a span of three months.

"Anthony lived in Orlando, Fla., and went back and forth from there to Honduras with Lisa," says Lisa's aunt, Karen Fequa. "The next thing I know, in May of 2000, he went to Honduras and didn't come back."

Initially, Anthony Lopes--Lisa's father's brother--followed the teachings of Dr. Sebi along with Lisa. Weighing some 300 pounds at his arrival, he fasted and ate the herbs that were offered in the village, eventually losing 100 pounds. But he soon stopped following the regimen and regained all the weight, Fequa says.

He died of congestive heart failure.

His death, following so closely on the heels of Lisa's, seemed odd, says Fequa. It was almost as if there was some spiritual element, some connection.

"Both my brother and my niece died in Honduras within months of each other," says Fequa, who believes that the practice of voodoo in Honduras may have had an effect on her family. "It's just a little uncanny."

Solomon Jones (sjones@philadelphiaweekly.com), PW's senior writer, last wrote about storefront churches in the city.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 8 of 8
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1. Laura deAndrade-Baptista said... on Feb 1, 2011 at 08:25PM

“Just read this article; very interesting......I did not know Lisa but her great grandfather Immanuel Lopes was my Uncle (my father's brother) We are of Cape Verdean descent. I wondered what happened to her Uncle Anthony as he stopped calling me........now I sadly know he is deceased.........when she passed away, I left a comment on her memorial page.........I never heard from her camp.......I am not a "groupie" , I just want to say, I wished I had known you and I know you are very happy now resting with our Lord.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Apr 6, 2011 at 10:00PM

“Unfortunately, people fall victim to what they strongly believe in. That belief can edify or destroy ones life. There are two forces operating in this world Jesus and satan. One speaks life eternal and the other speaks death eternal. It is important for every soul to seek a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and He will keep you in perfect peace and lead you in a path or righteousness for his name sake. Stay in the word of God, read your bible and lean not to your own understanding and the Lord shall direct your path. Read Proverbs Chap 4 & 5. God Bless!”

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3. Angelo said... on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:08AM

“Laura, how could her great grandfather be your uncle. Anthony was Lisa's uncle. For him to be your uncle, then you'd be her cousin, which means one of your parents is a brother/sister of Lisa's father, Ronald. For Lisa's great grandfather, Immanuel to be your uncle and for Lisa's uncle Anthony to also be your uncle is impossible. Perhaps you were not contacted by her "camp" because your story doesn't hang together!”

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4. Jane Hoffman said... on Aug 10, 2011 at 05:25AM

“I followed the group for years. I am not a "music" person but their music touched a true nerve and openness with me. I was very sad after her death. I sent her mother a rap I wrote in honor of Lisa.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:38PM

“Her dad moved to Kinston N.C my hometown i wonder who was the cousin he came down here to stay with. Y did they get into an argument and where did they stay at? because Kinston is such a historic town the house is probably still standing....Wish i knew which one it was or who they were?”

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6. Lisa said... on Aug 13, 2012 at 04:40PM

“@Angelo, You probably will never read this, but if you actually paid attention when you read Laura's post you would see she never said that Anthony was also her Uncle. She said that she'd wondered why she hadn't heard from LISA'S Uncle Anthony.”

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7. Cortnei said... on Oct 22, 2013 at 05:28PM

“I cant believe lisa died she was so pretty”

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8. Johnny said... on Mar 29, 2014 at 04:13PM

“Damn this was sad to read, and is almost chilling. I was thinking about taking a trip to Dr.Sebi's village in Honduras too myself but after reading this article I think I'm good on that and would instead get back in church, pray, meditate and try to do other things to relieve my stress and anxiety. Lisa was so beautiful, talented and had a lot to offer to the world and though her life was short she touched so many people's lives while she was here. I mean to think that it has been years since she left the earth yet she is still inspiring others, and she has surely inspired me. So with that being said R.I.P Lisa and thanks to Philadelphia Weekly for conducting the interviews and getting the information to make this great article necessary as well as not taking it down since it is so old and some sites actually would. I just know Lisa is now resting in a better place and is with the Lord. She probably even got to reconnect with her father and reconnect with Tupac too. You never know!”

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