Squatters Killed Woman, Stuffed Her in Closet: NYC Cops

Suspects in Nadia Vitels' death arrested Friday in Pennsylvania
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2024 12:39 PM CDT
Cops: Squatters Killed Woman, Stuffed Her in Closet
   (Getty Images/gorodenkoff)

A woman visiting the vacant apartment of her deceased mother was assaulted and killed by two people squatting inside, say Manhattan police, who searched for the suspects for a week before arrests were announced Friday. Nadia Vitels' body, stuffed in a duffel bag, was discovered March 14 by her son, who hadn't heard from her for two days. She'd flown in from Spain to visit the Kips Bay apartment, which had been vacant for three or four months, WABC reports. She was last seen leaving an elevator, which opens directly into the apartment, around 11:30am, per the New York Post. A few hours later, a man and a woman were seen accessing the building and taking the elevator to the same unit. Police say an altercation ensued. Vitels' 19-year-old son ultimately entered the apartment, opened a closet, and discovered his 52-year-old mother's foot sticking out of a bag, per the Post.

Police allege the victim was thrown into a sheet rock wall, which they found broken, per WABC. She suffered head trauma, facial fractures, and two broken ribs. The unnamed suspects allegedly then stole Vitels' vehicle and drove to Pennsylvania, where they crashed outside Harrisburg. They might've been caught then had local police run the vehicle's license plate. They only did so the following day, learning the SUV was tied to a murder, per WABC. Police uncovered video of the pair visiting multiple car dealerships, failing to buy a vehicle for $1,000, before they were taken into custody Friday in York, Pennsylvania, ABC News reports. It remains unclear how the pair were able to access the 19th-floor apartment. The building's elevator requires key access, per WABC. (More murder stories.)

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