Four men in their 20s have been indicted on murder and other charges in the "ruthless" beating death of a 31-year-old New York City woman whose body was found in the trunk of a car during an NYPD traffic stop three days after she was killed, prosecutors in Queens said Wednesday.
Nazareth Claure was killed with a machete and a baseball bat on April 11. Three days later, NYPD said officers saw four men toting a large object as they left a home on Foam Place in Far Rockaway in the middle of the night. Cops saw them place the object in the trunk of a vehicle and they all drove away, officials said.
The officers followed the men and eventually stopped them near Nassau Expressway and Bayview Avenue. After they searched the vehicle, they found Claure's body wrapped in a blanket. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Claure's cause of death has yet to be determined. Neighbors in Far Rockaway said she was the landlord of a building, though her connection to the men remains unclear. The victim leaves behind a young son.
“This was a cruel, ruthless killing. As alleged, the defendants attacked
the victim and beat her to death with a machete and a bat," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement announcing the indictment Wednesday. "A young boy is now without his mother and a community is grieving."
The four suspects: 22-year-old Allan Lopez, 21-year-old Jose Sarmiento, 20-year-old Rigel Yohairo and 28-year-old Anander Henriquez, all of Far Rockaway, were arraigned in Queens Supreme Court Tuesday on a seven-count indictment charging them all with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
Lopez, Sarmiento and Yohairo are also charged with concealment of a human corpse and tampering with physical evidence, while Henriquez also is accused of aggravated criminal contempt. All four defendants are due back in court July 27.
If convicted, they face up to life in prison. Information on possible attorneys for the four men wasn't immediately available.
“This brutal act of violence against an innocent woman is yet another reminder of the depraved indifference to human life that continues the be the calling card of various street gangs in NY," Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations New York Peter Fitzhugh said. "HSI and our law enforcement partners refuse to let these mobs’ ruthlessness intimidate our communities and we remain steadfast in our mission to eliminate the threat they pose to public safety."