A 41-year-old woman shot and killed her then-girlfriend in their apartment, then dumped her body in the woods nearly a decade ago, authorities claimed in an indictment.
Wanda Veguilla was indicted on charges of second-degree murder and felony tampering with evidence in the death of 26-year-old Pamela Graddick, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Veguilla’s alleged accomplice, 30-year-old John Torres, was also charged with second-degree criminal facilitation, first-degree prosecution hindering, and tampering with physical evidence, all of which are felonies. The duo were both initially taken into custody in January following a collaborative investigation between detectives with the Yonkers Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Bureau. Veguilla and Torres were arraigned in Yonkers Criminal Court and remanded to Westchester County Jail pending their next court appearance, authorities say.
According to a press release from Yonkers Police Department, officers on Sept. 4, 2012 at approximately 5:35 p.m. responded to a 911 call about a suspicious package being found in the woods. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders said they found a decomposing human body that was wrapped in a large black garbage bag.
Detectives with the department’s Major Case Squad and Crime Scene Unit took over the investigation and were able to identify the victim as Bronx resident Pamela Graddick. Per the release, investigators determined that Graddick had been shot twice in the head at a location outside of Yonkers and dumped in the woods in an attempt to conceal the crime.
Police identified Veguilla as a person interest early on in the case, but were unable to explain how the petite woman could have moved the larger Graddick’s body to the secluded area in the woods, according to a report from the Westchester Journal News.
Following a two-year investigation, authorities were unable to come up with enough evidence to charge anyone and the case was transferred to the Yonkers Police Department Cold Case Unit. After years of additional case work, investigators took Veguilla into custody nine years and four months after Graddick’s body was discovered.
Police said that Veguilla confessed to the murder during an interview with detectives.
Veguilla allegedly said that she shot and killed Graddick inside of the Bronx apartment apartment they shared due to “ongoing domestic issues between them.” Police say that Veguilla got the murder weapon from Torres. Following the alleged murder, she again contacted Torres who allegedly helped her move the body from her apartment to the woods.
“The passage of time only reinforces our commitment to solving these heinous crimes. The Yonkers Police prides itself on focusing on victims and their families and doing whatever we can to deliver justice for them,” City of Yonkers Police Commissioner John J. Mueller said in a statement following the arrests. “I hope that these arrests bring some degree of closure to Pamela’s family and friends; and I applaud the extraordinary efforts of our Cold Case Detectives in closing out this case after so many years – well done!”
The case is before Judge Anne Minihan in Westchester County Court, and it is being prosecuted by Cold Case Bureau Chief Laura Murphy.
[images via Yonkers Police Department]
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