New York Woman Arrested In Alleged Murder of Fiance During Kayak Trip

27CD411300000578-0-image-a-9_1430424593980There is a tragic case out of New York that has the makings of a controversial murder prosecution. The defendant in the case is Angelika Graswald, who is accused of killing her fiance, Vincent Viafore, on a kayaking trip on the Hudson river. The police believe that Graswald, who has posted regularly pictures of the couple and comments since Viafore’s disappearance, killed Viafore in a faked boating accident. Viafore’s body has never been found. In addition to the absence of a body, there is no direct evidence of murder revealed publicly. Police are citing inconsistencies in Graswald’s account as well as critical diary entries.

Graswald, a Latvian national of Russian descent, was was working as a bartender when she met Viafore a couple years earlier. She was divorced from her first husband in 2009 and, according to news reports, Viafore (a successful project manager) had been supporting her. Viafore was 11 years older.

Graswald, 35, said that the two were kayaking in the river off Cornwall-On-Hudson, near West Point, when Viafore ran into trouble and fell into the river. Even though both are experienced water enthusiasts, he wasn’t wearing a life vest. She said that she tried to help him but that she then fell in the river and was separated from him. She was rescued later and called 911.

2835EC6800000578-3064520-image-m-19_1430503341278It is also odd that an experienced kayaker would not only fail to have on a vest but prove unable to either recover from a flip or hold on to the kayak. Graswald said “I saw him struggling a little bit. He was trying to figure out how to paddle the waves. And then I just saw him flip, right in front of me.” This concern makes the recovery of the body all the more important to determine the cause of death and whether, if found in the water, there was water in the lungs (indicating that he was alive when he went into the water).

Police say that Graswald met inconsistent statements and “implicated herself in the crime.” They arrested her after taking her to the island for one last account of the events of that day, but it is not clear what implicated her in second-degree murder.

2835E7A200000578-3064520-image-a-17_1430503296930What is interesting is the importance of diary entries by Graswald. She had written in her journal that Viafore liked rough sex and was pressuring her into having threesomes. She allegedly added that these incidents had made her wish him dead. She insisted that these entries were dated and written in a passing period in the relationship. It is indeed odd that a woman who allegedly planned a murder would leave such incriminating statements in a journal, though such mistakes have been made in past cases. There is also the curious disconnect with the image of a gold-digger who did not wait to marry the victim before doing him in — leaving her with no assets from the estate. Accordingly, this would have to be a murder out of anger, which may reflect the second-degree rather than a premeditated first-degree claim (though that can change).

27CD411800000578-0-image-a-11_1430424604498As has become common in murder cases, we have the accused posting pictures and comments on the case — a nightmare for defense attorneys. In this case, Graswald has posted romantic pictures while, soon after the disappearance, asking rescuers not to take any unnecessary risks: “Miracles ARE possible. The authorities are doing everything they can . . .” and “We do not need anyone else getting hurt, as it is very dangerous out there, especially without daylight. Please, no questions at this point, we’re doing everything we can. We will find him.”

One witness who has been identified has said that he saw both Viafore and Graswald on the island with his telescope from his home on the water.

2835E7A600000578-3064520-image-a-21_1430503553009Without the body or other direct form of evidence, this could come down to circumstantial evidence and a question of credibility. Often defense counsel avoids putting a defendant on the stand to minimize risk, but the diary entries add considerable pressure for the jury to hear from the accused. There is always a concern that an accent or limited English can undermine the witness in such a case. There is also the grueling cross examination that comes with any inconsistent statements made to police.

39 thoughts on “New York Woman Arrested In Alleged Murder of Fiance During Kayak Trip”

  1. Huh??? “the two were kayaking Gin the river off Cornwall-On-Hudson, near West Point??? Wow, I have heard of Whiskey River, which I think is in Tennessee, maybe, near Nashville, but this is a new one on me!

    After looking at all the pictures at the link,I just wonder??? I wouldn’t be one bit surprised surprised if these two were trying to have sex in their kayaks when the accident happened! And just why would he “roll under”??? Hmmm, I bet an Irish Poem can tell us what may have happened!

    Kayak-ety Sex???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    Angelika and Vincent were two,
    Who “did it” in their small canoe!
    Then, the lady said “Stop!”
    It’s my turn on top!
    But, it took her too long to get through.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    Oh, some sexy background saxophone music for those who are imagining the scene. . .

  2. Somehow it does seem it does seem a rush to judgment.

  3. Maybe I’m the exception, but I must admit, I have never wished anyone dead. Ever. Angry at someone? Of course. Wishing for someone’s death? Never. The journal/diary entries are, of course, not all that the investigators have here, at least that’s what I assume. The entries are, however, not irrelevant. They are a piece of the puzzle.

  4. I feel really uncomfortable using her diary declaration that she at sometime “wished he were dead” as being necessarily meaningful. I suspect that each of us (all of us, if we’re honest with ourselves) has at one time or another wished someone close to us, who has pissed us off royally/hurt us, “dead.” I know I have … more than once. And I haven’t killed anyone yet. And if someone in an intimate relationship with me suddenly died, it surely doesn’t mean I killed that person, even if it turned out that person was a total S.O.B. and I still wished him dead. From what little has been reported, the so-called “evidence” is exceedingly slim to none, and seems hardly worthy of an arrest. It will be interesting to see what “hard evidence,” if any, becomes known.

  5. Seems like quite a few fiancés and newly-weds end up going overboard, either from cruise ships or pleasure crafts. Stay off the same boat as your soul mate until you’ve been married at least five years.

  6. JT assumes that there would be no financial motive to kill him, since the two were only engaged and not married. This assumption is based upon the belief that this woman would not have access to his assets as his fiance. That is only true if she is not named in a will, a deed, in an account where the money is to be paid to her upon death of account holder, or named in his life insurance policy, etc., where she could, indeed, be the recipient of money and/or assets.

  7. Nick

    Allegedly, she is telling reporters that the police arrested her because they think that she tampered with his kayak. Who knows if that’s true, but, allegedly that is what she is now saying. While the body of the missing man has yet to be found, both of the kayaks have been retrieved. Is there suspicious damage to his kayak? The police also have journal or diary entries of her wishing him dead.

    Watch out for Latvian mail order brides.

  8. bam, I understand prosecutors can and do convict w/o a body. But, the circumstantial evidence is usually much stronger than this one. Just my opinion, I could be wrong. Again, we are relying on press reports, so I say again, making any declarative judgments is not prudent.

  9. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. Sure doesn’t sound like enough evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. Too many innocent people have been convicted of crimes because juries failed to hold the prosecution to the high standard of proof needed for conviction.

  10. Prosecutors can, and do, prosecute without the actual body.

    She has some entries, in either a journal or a diary, in which she declared that she wished that he were dead.

    There is much more going on here. The investigators, when questioned, were very tight lipped about the details.

  11. DBQ

    Can’t help but wonder if a will and/or life insurance policy exist? If so, is she named in the will or named as a beneficiary in his life insurance policy?

  12. @ bam bam

    That is a very unusual time for someone to go kayaking. And an experienced kayak enthusiast would be wearing a life vest. I’ve done a lot of river rafting, with an experienced guide on some pretty impressive rapids out here in the west and did some kayaking in rather tame waters. In all circumstances we wore life vests so that IF you fell out of the raft or turned over in the kayak and were injured, say hit your head on a submerged rock, you would at least float and someone in the group could, hopefully, pull your injured or unconscious body to the shallows.

    AND…..looking at the photo of the area around the island where she said that he capsized, it looks like they were paddling in a bath tub and not in a river with rapids.

    I don’t buy her story at all.

  13. According to the reports, the two were kayaking, in New York, on the Hudson, at approximately 7:30 pm.

    Isn’t it dark at 7:30 pm in New York in mid April? Who goes kayaking in the dark on the Hudson? Wouldn’t alleged water enthusiasts, as they are described, appreciate the dangers and either refrain from doing so or, at least, both be wearing a life vest?

    Very odd.

  14. People who cannot understand why she was not able to haul him into a kayak, or jump into a swift river to save him, have not canoed or kayaked on swift rivers. Canoes are more stable than a kayak but not much. So if you have been in a canoe you can appreciate the deficiency in the state’s logic. Pick a jury of folks who have kayaked without life vests. I never wore one back when I was a human and canoed and kayaked. Then there is her yakking to self. And hyperinflated speech. If they ever find the body and there is an anchor on his feet then maybe it was an accident. If the anchor was around his neck then it is more likely a murder. Indent on the head? Likely a paddle to the head.

    I predict not guilty.

  15. This locally occurring to near where I live.
    In the segment showing her “explaining” what happened, you can see that same, incongruous micro-expression and intonations that you saw with Susan Smith who killed her kids.
    I do have to say though, at this early point, lacking a confession, the evidence they have released against her doesn’t seem like enough to convict, not even a body.

  16. Far less evidence that she killed him than in the Freddie Gray case and the 6 cops.

  17. Kinda tough to comment without more info. Kinda not important. Won’t start any arguments here, or ?

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