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Suspected squatters arrested in Pennsylvania in murder of NYC woman

Suspects in killing of NYC woman arrested in Pennsylvania
Suspects in killing of NYC woman arrested in Pennsylvania 02:30

NEW YORK - Two suspects are in custody in the brutal murder of a woman whose body was found hidden in a duffel bag in a New York City apartment. 

Halley Tejada, 19, and Kensly Alston, 18, were arrested in York, Penn., about 185 miles from Manhattan for allegedly driving a stolen car. 

The U.S. Marshals say the two are considered persons of interest in beating death of 52-year-old Nadia Vitels.

An NYPD source says Tejada is from Washington Heights and Alston is from the Bronx. 

Her body was found in a duffel bag in a closet at a 19th floor apartment on 31st Street in Manhattan's Kips Bay neighborhood back on March 14. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head

Her son made the discovery after coming to check on her because he hadn't heard from her. 

An NYPD source said it's alleged that Tejada and Alston were squatting in the apartment when Vitels showed up to move either herself or someone else in. 

Sources say the two suspects were seen on surveillance video in the building and outside stealing Vitels' car from the street, where it was parked. 

The vehicle was traced to New Jersey and then Pennsylvania, where it was involved in an accident on March 13. According to authorities, Alston, who was allegedly driving Vitels' Lexus at the time of the crash, initially gave officers responding to the crash a fake name. 

The two were being hunted by the Joint Fugitive Task Force.

CBS New York spoke with immediate family members of both suspects. Neither seemed to know much about Tejada or Alston's recent whereabouts. 

Tejada was arrested back in December for breaking the glass door of his last known address in Manhattan. Alston has a prior as a juvenile for assault. 

The building's super said he's heard about potential squatters. 

"They say that, but I've always believed that no one moved in," the super said.

The elevators in the building have a door on either side, and a key system for each apartment. That means it can be locked, and the elevator door won't open on the side with your apartment. It's unclear how the two suspects would've gained access to an apartment. 

Vitels was killed after traveling to Manhattan from Spain to prepare the apartment to be occupied, sources told CBS New York. The apartment had been vacant for months after the death of Vitels' mother. 

Vitels was seen on surveillance video coming and going from the apartment, sources said. Police sources believe the suspects, who had been squatting there, returned to the apartment themselves after Vitels had arrived, surprised her and beat her to death. 

At her funeral earlier this week, her son remembered her as a woman who always took care of others but was just about to move into New York City and focus on herself. 

"In the last few months, she traveled to Germany, Spain and Miami and had the best time of her life," he said. 

A life brutally ended, police say, at the hands of strangers. 

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