Missing Kayaker's Fiancee Pulled Boat's Plug, Took Paddle: DA - NBC New York

Missing Kayaker's Fiancee Pulled Boat's Plug, Took Paddle: DA

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    Missing Kayaker's Fiancee Pulled Boat's Plug, Took Paddle: DA

    The woman accused of killing her fiance during a kayaking trip in upstate New York allegedly pulled the plug from his vessel, then took his paddle while he struggled to stay afloat in the waters, prosecutors said Tuesday. Lori Bordonaro has more. (Published Tuesday, May 26, 2015)

    The woman accused of killing her fiance during a kayaking trip in upstate New York allegedly pulled the plug from his vessel, then took his paddle while he struggled to stay afloat in the waters, prosecutors said Tuesday.

    Angelika Graswald was indicted on murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Vincent Viafore, who had been missing since April 19, when his kayak capsized in the Hudson about 50 miles north of New York City.

    Viafore's body was pulled from the water after being spotted by a fisherman Saturday near the Cornwall Yacht Club, about a mile south where his kayak capsized.

    Graswald reported the capsizing as an accident. She said his kayak capsized in choppy, chilly water while he wasn't wearing a life jacket, and she was unable to save him. Graswald, 35, was rescued from the water by another boater and treated for hypothermia.

    But the story soon took a startling turn. Less than two weeks later, Graswald was charged with murder. Prosecutors said she wanted out of their relationship -- and wanted Viafore's $250,000 in life insurance.

    "She felt trapped, and it was her only way out," Orange County Assistant District Attorney Julie Mohl said at a court hearing this month.

    Graswald admitted tampering with Viafore's kayak and later confessed "it felt good knowing he would die," Mohl said. The fiancee didn't call 911 for 20 minutes after his kayak overturned, and witnesses said she intentionally capsized her own craft, Mohl said.

    Graswald's lawyer, Richard Portale, has raised questions about the statements his Latvian client allegedly made to authorities, noting that the language barrier between Graswald and investigators.

    "I'm skeptical of the statements," he said earlier this month.

    Graswald and Viafore appeared to be a happy couple. Images posted online show an active, affectionate pair spending time outdoors, particularly on the water, and a message about their plans to be married at a spot on the Baltic Sea.

    Graswald has worked at a string of restaurants and other businesses and has been married twice.

    She is being held on $3 million bail.

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