2 squatters sought in murder of woman found in duffel bag in Manhattan home: police

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Thursday, March 21, 2024
Manhunt underway for 2 squatters after body found in duffel bag
Dan Krauth has the latest details on the case of a woman's body found in duffel bag in Kips Bay.

NEW YORK -- Two squatters are being sought in the murder of a woman who walked in on them living inside her recently deceased mother's New York City apartment, according to investigators.

Nadia Vitel arrived in the country 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 a man and a woman living inside.

A struggle ensued and Vitel appears to have been thrown into a sheet rock wall, which was later discovered dented and broken.

She suffered blunt force trauma to the head, multiple facial fractures and two broken ribs.

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.

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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 are now hot on their trail, and have recovered surveillance video of the two visiting multiple car dealerships, attempting to buy a new car for $1,000. They were not successful.

Vitel's 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 Vitel's 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 Vitel's floor.

They have recovered surveillance video of Vitel waiting for alternate side parking rules to park her Lexus on East 31st Street before entering the apartment building, and of the suspects driving away in the vehicle after she was killed.