Charles Pray, 34, of Bay Shore, N.Y., is expected to be arraigned on a second-degree murder charge in the death of 36-year-old Monica Lino, according to authorities.
While investigators have not revealed what connects the suspect to the case, neighbors told CBS New York that Lino and Pray had recently started dating. Pray, a U.S. Navy veteran, has a police record that includes criminal trespass contempt and petty larceny.
The station reports Lino was found dead in a pool of blood Sunday in the Farmingville, N.Y., home she rented. A nephew found her body and detectives later revealed that a large knife was missing from a set in her kitchen.
On Monday, investigators said Lino's stolen Volkswagen Jetta was discovered abandoned 30 miles away. Pray was arrested hours after the car was found.
Lino worked a desk job for an insurance company while raising her 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, according to the station.
"She was taken too early," friend Melissa Tanzi told the station. "She was a beautiful woman."
"She was a good friend, a good mother," said neighbor Doug Perro.
Lino had been taking care of the kids on her own after her husband committed suicide years ago. The children are currently visiting relatives in Portugal.