Watch CBS News

Fiancée Of Missing Kayaker Charged With Murder

CORNWALL-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A woman who claimed her fiancé was missing after his kayak overturned on the Hudson River earlier this month has been charged with his murder.

Angelika Graswald, 35, has been with the murder of her fiancé Vincent Viafore, 46, the Orange County District Attorney's office announced.

"My office is working closely with the New York State Police to ensure that this case can be presented to an Orange County Grand Jury next week," said District Attorney David Hoovler. "The investigation of this matter is ongoing."

As CBS2's Valerie Castro reported, the two had a relationship that appeared to be full of love and happiness on Facebook, but authorities believe that Graswald may be responsible for Viafore's death.

Angelika Graswald and Vincent Viafore
Angelika Graswald and Vincent Viafore (CBS2)

"She made statements that implicated herself in this crime -- enough to certainly have reasonable cause to have made the arrest," said New York State Police Maj. Patrick Regan. There is a lot of work that remains to be done, but we felt there was enough to make the charge."

Since Viafore's disappearance on April 19, Graswald has publicly portrayed herself as the sole survivor of a tragic accident, CBS2's Lou Young reported.

Graswald was pulled from the Hudson River after calling 911 almost two weeks ago, saying her fiancé had vanished after both of their kayaks capsized off Cornwall-On-Hudson, in Orange County.

Fiancée Of Missing Kayaker Charged With Murder

Graswald told police she called 911, then tried to help. She said she fell out of her own kayak and was later rescued by a boater.

Police became suspicious because Viafore is a good swimmer with a strong passion for water sports, Young reported.

Police have been unable to find his body and Graswald has told varying version of his final moments, including one last week during an interview with News 12 Westchester, Young reported.

"I saw him struggling a little bit, he was trying to figure out how to paddle the waves...because they were getting crazy," Graswald said. "And then I just saw him flip."

Police will not say precisely what she said to prompt the second-degree murder charge, but they are certain what happened on the river was no accident, Young reported.

Search teams reentered the water south of the Newburg-Beacon bridge to continue the search for Viafore's.

Her arrest had locals speculating if he was ever in the water at all or if he might still be there, Young reported.

"She tied a brick to him, I betcha," Cornwall-on-Hudson resident John Bruder told Young. "He had a weight on him. She said, 'Hold on to this, I'll be right back,'" Bruder theorized.

Neighbors near the couple's home in Poughkeepsie said they kept to themselves, but were surprised to hear about the criminal charges.

"It's terrible, it's terrible and I hope for her sake that she didn't do it. I hope that something freaky happened and she didn't do it," Lillian Morse said.

Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said he'll go to a grand jury with this murder charge even if they find nothing, Young reported.

"Prosecuting a case without a body? It's been done in this county before, it's been done across the state of New York and it's been done across the United States," Hoovler said.

At the dock where Graswald was brought by rescuers the day of the incident, observers say she always seemed like a victim as the search dragged on for days.

"The woman was here with a friend and she seemed concerned and distraught from what I could see and she was just biding her time just seeing if they could find him," said Cornwall resident Barry Gruber.

Others were suspicious from the start. "It didn't add up. From day one I thought it had to be a murder myself. I really did," said Cornwall Resident Larry Heneretta.

As late as this past Monday, Graswald was posting photos and messages about Viafore on her Facebook page, including one that read:

"Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard but always near. Still loved, still missed and very dear."

It's been 11 days since Viafore vanished and his body could be almost anywhere in the Hudson River south of Albany given the currents and changing tides, Young reported.

State police are asking outdoors enthusiasts and fisherman to keep an eye out for the body but to please not touch anything.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the New York State Police at 845-457-1388 or send information to

Graswald is being held without bail at the Orange County jail.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.