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NYPD: Orsolya Gaal's former lover and handyman David Bonola arrested in brutal murder of Queens mother

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Learning more about man accused of killing Orsolya Gaal 02:43

NEW YORK -- A suspect is under arrest in the brutal murder of Queens resident Orsolya Gaal.

Police said the 51-year-old mother of two was stabbed nearly 60 times last week in Forest Hills. Her body was found inside a bag not far from her home.

The NYPD announced Thursday that Gaal's on-again, off-again lover 44-year-old David Bonola was arrested on murder and other charges.

As CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reports, Bonola cursed as he was escorted out of the 112th Precinct in Queens on Thursday. The arrest came days after Gaal's brutal killing.

"They had been off and on. They had broken up prior but had reunited early in the month of April and their relationship was considered at an end," Deputy Chief Julie Morrill said.

"They had been having an intimate affair for approximately two years," NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

Police say in addition to being the victim's lover, Bonola was also the family's handyman.

David Bonola arrested on murder charges in deadly stabbing of Queens mother Orsolya Gaal. NYPD

A social media account with Bonola's name often commented on Gaal's photos, over a year ago post "Tu mirada enamorada," which translates to "your look in love," but investigators believe recently, the affair turned sour.

They say he went to Gaal's home on Juno Street early Saturday morning to talk about the relationship. The two began to argue.

"He is either let in voluntarily or he uses a key he has knowledge about hidden in the barbecue," Essig said. "A heated argument ensues between the two in the basement. A knife is brandished. A violent struggle ensues, resulting in our victim being stabbed ruthlessly and brutally in excess of 55 times."

Police say Bonola used a kitchen knife in the attack. He then allegedly placed her body inside of her son's hockey bag, dragging it several blocks before discarding it. He left behind a trail of blood, along with his jacket in the nearby park.

"Detectives also developed leads which lead them to a location where boots, a t-shirt and bloody bandages were discovered," Essig said.

Police say after the attack, Bonola sent Gaal's husband a threatening text from her phone. He then went to a hospital to be treated for deep stab wounds to his hands.

Sources say Wednesday night, officers zeroed in on Bonola's home, where they found him with a bandaged hand. He was taken into custody and later confessed.

Sources say he told detectives he didn't go to the home with the intention of killing Gaal. Instead, he snapped in a fit of rage.

Police add Bonola moved to the United States from Mexico 21 years ago. Sources add he is separated from his wife, who also lives in Queens, and has two children of his own. He has no other criminal history.

As for Gaal, her 13-year-old son was upstairs when she was killed. Her husband and 17-year-old son were out of town.

"Normal mother going about her day-to-day life, right? Why should anything happen to anyone at this magnitude?" neighbor John Blankson said.

"Everybody's still here trying to get some kind of a, you know, snapshot of what's going on. The husband hasn't been back here," neighbor John Feltman told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

Neighbors are grateful there is an arrest.

"We're all relieved, absolutely relieved, mostly for the family, as well. The family and her friends, that's first and most important part about all of this," Blankson said.

Police say Bonola is also charged with criminal tampering and criminal possession of a weapon in relation to Gaal's death.

See live updates below for the latest. 


ICE lodges detainer after arrest of David Bonola in Orsolya Gaal's murder

NEW YORK -- Federal authorities are now involved in the case of a Queens mother whose remains were found stuffed inside a hockey bag last weekend.

The crime scene tape is gone from Orsolya Gaal's Forest Hills home, but the flowers remain, reminders of the horror that happened there just one week ago.

Late Thursday, David Bonola was indicted for Gaal's murder. Police believe the 44-year-old handyman had been having an affair with the victim, a wife and mother of two.

Even before Bonola allegedly confessed Thursday, police had their eye on him thanks to a digital trail linking him to the victim.

Click here to read the full story.

By Ali Bauman

Suspect arraigned in stabbing death of Queens mother

Suspect arraigned in stabbing death of Queens mother 00:21

Suspect David Bonola faced a judge for the first time Thursday night.

According to prosecutors in court, Bonola, the handyman and former lover of Orsolya Gaal, made a statement saying during their argument early Saturday morning, she asked him to leave and that's when he stabbed her.

The defense requested suicide watch and medical attention.

By CBS New York Team

Waiting for Bonola to walk

Follow CBS2's Kiran Dhillon for the latest updates. 

By CBS New York Team

Who is David Bonola?

The NYPD said David Bonola worked as a handyman for Gaal, and the two had been in an on-and-off intimate relationship for the past two years. 

Investigators believe he was either let inside her Queens home or used a key he knew was hidden in a barbecue. 

David Bonola arrested on murder charges in deadly stabbing of Queens mother Orsolya Gaal. Photo via CBS2

Police say the 44-year-old lives in South Richmond Hill, and fled the scene through Forest Park.

He arrived in the U.S. approximately 20 years ago from Mexico and does not have any prior arrests.

By CBS New York Team

Timeline of the case

The NYPD released a detailed timeline of the investigation Thursday.

Police said Gaal went to a show with friends last Friday night at Lincoln Center before going back to her neighborhood in Forest Hills.

She stopped at a local establishment at around 11:20 p.m., then returned home at around 12:20 a.m. 

Police believe the suspect arrived at her house between 12:30 and 12:40 a.m., adding he was either let inside or used a key he knew was hidden in a barbeque. 

Investigators said Bonola worked as a handyman for Gaal and the two had an on-and-off intimate relationship for approximately two years. 

Investigators display the knife they say was used in the deadly stabbing of Queens mother Orsolya Gaal. NYPD

They said the couple got into an argument in the basement, which led to Bonola stabbing Gaal up to 60 times. He allegedly placed her body inside a hockey bag that belonged to her son, then rolled it outside, leaving a bloody trail along the sidewalk.

Police said Bonola then fled through Forest Park, where officers found his jacket. Investigators later discovered boots, a T-shirt and bloody bandages at another location. 

He was also treated at an area hospital for wounds to both hands.   

Police said when officers tracked him down, Bonola voluntarily went to the precinct and made incriminating statements.

By CBS New York Team

CBS2 awaiting NYPD presser

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon is with other members of the media as we await the latest. 

By CBS New York Team

Sources: Suspect found with bandage on his hand

Sources tell CBS2 the suspect was taken into custody around 11 p.m. Wednesday. 

Police were looking into a name and address and found a man outside with a bandage on his hand, sources say.

He was taken into custody for questioning overnight and charged Thursday morning.

By CBS New York Team

Retracing Gaal's final steps

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon spoke with the manager of the Forest Hills Station House restaurant, where Gaal was last seen alive.

Gabe Veras described Gaal as "a very classy woman."

"Very sweet, beautiful," he added.

New details revealed in Orsolya Gaal murder investigation in Queens 02:13

Veras said he wasn't there Friday night but video showed Gaal stop by the bar. 

"Orsolya was here on Friday around 11:45 to 12:30. She came in alone, she left alone. She had her usual a Moscow mule," he told Dhillon."

She was a regular and often came alone. He said he spoke to her last Tuesday.

"She had come back from a concert, seeing her favorite composer," he said. "She was delighted at that. She was elated that she saw this composer live. She was very into the arts and music."

Veras and others at the restaurant are devastated by her death. 

"It's super tragic," he said. "It's very surreal how it's going down. We can't imagine what her family is going through. We all feel bad."

By CBS New York Team

NYPD Commissioner Sewell announces charges

By CBS New York Team

NYPD update expected

The NYPD will hold a news conference on the arrest in the case later this morning. 

It's currently scheduled for 11:30 am. 

Watch live on CBS News  New York.

By CBS New York Team

Sources: Boyfriend David Bonola arrested

The NYPD says David Bonola is under arrest in the Queens mother's brutal killing.

Police sources tell CBS2 he was Gaal's boyfriend and investigators believe it was a "crime of passion."

The 44-year-old Queens man faces murder, criminal tampering and criminal possession of a weapon charges.

By CBS New York Team

Investigators zero in

Sources told CBS2 investigators were zeroing in on Gaal's final hours and past relationships.

What's next in Orsolya Gaal investigation 02:38

They said the night she was killed, she went to a show with friends at Lincoln Center before stopping by a local bar in Queens. She returned home by herself.

Sources also said detectives were looking into her relationship with several men and probing possible past romantic links to at least one man, based on her electronic communications.

By CBS New York Team
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