2 suspected squatters taken into custody after woman’s body found in duffel bag in NYC apartment

Two suspected squatters have been taken into custody in connection with the death of a woman whose body was found inside a duffel bag in a New York City apartment, according to police.

The suspects were taken into custody Friday morning just after 10 a.m. in York, Pennsylvania, a New York Police Department spokesperson told CNN. They said the two people were picked up by Middle Pennsylvania Regional Fugitive Taskforce without incident. CNN has contacted the US Marshals Service for comment.

The body of Nadia Vitel, 52, was discovered stuffed inside a duffel bag in her late mother’s apartment on March 14, according to the NYPD spokesperson. Police were dispatched to an apartment in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood to respond to a wellness check before Vitel’s body was found there, police said. Police believe the suspects were illegally occupying the apartment.

The woman’s body was first found by the victim’s son, who had grown anxious after not being able to reach his mother by phone. He entered the apartment with the building’s superintendent, according to police. He then noticed a foot sticking out of a duffel bag tucked inside a closet, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny.

Nadia Vitels is seen in a June 2021 interview. - WCBS/File
Nadia Vitels is seen in a June 2021 interview. - WCBS/File

Vitel, who had traveled from Spain, went to her late mother’s apartment to prepare it for a family friend to move in, according to police.

“She arrives in the apartment, and we have video of her arriving, coming in and out, and the same day we have two perpetrators also coming in and out of the apartment,” said Kenny.

The apartment was vacant for three to four months prior to the incident, when police believe squatters began occupying the 19th floor property, according to Kenny.

Police said they believe Vitel walked in on the suspected squatters, who allegedly beat her to death. The New York City Medical Examiner’s Officer has ruled Vitel’s death a homicide. A spokesperson told CNN the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

The pair then fled in the victim’s stolen car, according to police.

The suspects, a man and woman who have not yet been publicly identified by police, were caught in Pennsylvania after they crashed the car and local police responded to the incident, according to Kenny.

It was not until the following day police ran the plates and found Vitel’s car was linked to suspects wanted for a homicide in New York, according to police.

CNN’s Mark Morales contributed to this report.

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