Suspected squatters arrested in Pennsylvania for murder of New York woman

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NEW YORK – Two suspects are detained in the brutal murder of a woman whose body was found hidden in a canvas bag in a New York City apartment.

Halley Tejada, 19, and Kensly Alston, 18, were arrested in York, Pennsylvania, about 185 miles from Manhattan, for allegedly driving a stolen car.

U.S. Marshals say the two are considered persons of interest in the beating death of 52-year-old Nadia Vitels.

An NYPD source says Tejada is from Washington Heights and Alston is from the Bronx.

His body was found in a duffel bag in a closet of a 19th-floor apartment on 31st Street in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood on March 14. The medical examiner He ruled her death a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head..

His son made the discovery after coming to check on him. because I hadn’t heard anything from her.

An NYPD source said Tejada and Alston were allegedly occupying the apartment when Vitels showed up to move herself or someone else.

Sources say the two suspects were seen on surveillance video in the building and outside stealing Vitels’ car on the street, where it was parked.

The vehicle was tracked to New Jersey and then Pennsylvania, where it was involved in an accident on March 13. According to authorities, Alston, who was allegedly driving Vitels’ Lexus at the time of the crash, initially gave officers responding to the crash a false name.

The two were being pursued by the Joint Fugitive Task Force.

CBS New York spoke with immediate family members of both suspects. Neither seemed to know much about the recent whereabouts of Tejada or Alston.

Tejada was arrested in December for breaking the glass door of his last known address in Manhattan. Alston has a record as a juvenile for assault.

The building’s superintendent said he has heard about possible squatters.

“They say that, but I’ve always believed that no one moved,” the superintendent said.

The building’s elevators have a door on each side and a key system for each apartment. That means it can be locked and the elevator door will not open on the side of your apartment. It is unclear how the two suspects would have gained access to an apartment.

Vitels was murdered after traveling to Manhattan from Spain to prepare the apartment for occupancy, sources told CBS New York. The apartment had been empty for months after the death of Vitels’ mother.

Vitels was seen on surveillance video entering and leaving the apartment, sources said. Police sources believe that the suspects, who had been squatting there, returned to the apartment themselves after Vitels arrived, surprised her, and beat her to death.

At her funeral earlier this week, her son remembered her as a woman who always cared about others but was about to move to New York City and focus on herself.

“In recent months he traveled to Germany, Spain and Miami and had the time of his life,” he said.

A life brutally ended, police say, at the hands of strangers.

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