2 squatters taken into custody in Pennsylvania after woman's body found in duffel bag

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Friday, March 22, 2024
2 suspected squatters in custody after woman found dead in duffel bag
Dan Krauth has the latest on two squatters accused of killing a woman in Manhattan.

NEW YORK (WPVI) -- Two suspected squatters wanted for questioning in the murder of a woman who walked in on them living inside her recently deceased mother's apartment were taken into custody in Pennsylvania.

The suspects were caught Friday in York by members of the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force just before 11 a.m.

Halley Tejada, 19, and Kensly Alston, 18, were wanted in connection to the brutal death of Nadia Vitels.

Tejada is being held on a local charge of receiving stolen property, for possession of the victim's stolen Lexus. Both are being held pending extradition for her murder.

Vitels arrived in the country from Spain last week to prepare the East 31st Street apartment for a family friend. It was owned by her mother, and had been vacant for the three to four months since her death.

Instead, she discovered the man and a woman living inside.

A struggle broke out and the victim was slammed against the wall and died of blunt force trauma to the head before her body was stuffed in a duffel bag.

The suspects stole her Lexus and fled across the George Washington Bridge through New Jersey to Pennsylvania, where they crashed in Lower Paxton Township, just outside Harrisburg.

Unfortunately, local police in Pennsylvania did not run the license plate until the day after the crash, giving the two the opportunity to get away.

Detectives recovered surveillance video of the two visiting multiple car dealerships, attempting to buy a new car for $1,000. They were not successful.

Vitels' body was found in a duffel bag last Thursday by her concerned son, who accessed the apartment with the superintendent and other family members after not hearing from her for two days. As they were about to leave the apartment, the son opened the closet and discovered the duffel bag, with a foot sticking out. Many of Vitels' belongings were tossed down the garbage chute.

The squatters were able to occupy the apartment, which has no front door, through the building's elevator, which opens directly into the space. The elevator requires key access and detectives are still figuring out how the two got the elevator to open on Vitels' floor.

Investigators have recovered surveillance video of Vitels waiting for alternate side parking rules to park her Lexus before entering the apartment building, and of the suspects driving away in the vehicle after she was killed.