Squatters Taken Into Custody After Woman Found Dead in Duffle Bag

(RepublicanReport.org) – Two teens were taken into custody after a series of events led to police discovering a dead woman in a duffel bag in New York. The teens had been squatting in an apartment the victim’s late mother had owned. They allegedly killed her when she found them in the home, but they didn’t get caught until they crashed the woman’s car.

The US Marshals Service stated that officials in Pennsylvania initially took 18-year-old Kensly Alston and 19-year-old Halley Tejada into custody on charges of receiving stolen property. The two, who were driving a car that belonged to the murder victim, were allegedly on the run when they got into a traffic accident. Prosecutors later named them persons of interest in the homicide case.

Vitels had been out of the country, leaving the apartment vacant for a few months after her mother passed away. She had returned to get the place ready for a friend to move in, but squatters had already moved in. Surveillance footage outside the property shows the victim, 52-year-old Nadia Vitels, parking and then entering the building. Later, the two suspects appear to drive off in that same vehicle. Evidence suggests a fight had broken out between them, at which time one of the suspects allegedly slammed Vitels into a wall, causing deadly blunt-force trauma to her head. The victim’s body was found in a duffel bag, hidden in a closet inside the residence.

In New York, squatters can evade arrest by claiming to be legal tenants, even if they move into a home illegally. Owners must take the uninvited tenants to court to legally evict them, a process that usually takes about two years to finalize.

The problem isn’t only in New York. Laws vary across the country, but in most cases, if a person can provide documentation that they’ve been living somewhere — even a utility bill or a fake rental agreement — police must leave the matter to the courts. Owners can protect their properties by having alarm systems in place, posting “no trespassing” signs, using motion-detecting lights outside, and hiring outside property management if they aren’t living in the immediate area.

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