Squatters suspected of killing woman in NYC apartment, police sources say

NEW YORK — Police sources are revealing more details about a murder mystery in Manhattan. 

They say the Joint Fugitive Task Force is hunting for two suspects after Nadia Vitels, 52, was killed inside her mother’s New York City apartment. 

It happened in the Kips Bay neighborhood. Sources say the suspects were squatters. 

Victim found squatters in mother’s vacant apartment, sources say

According to police sources, Vitels was killed after she traveled to New York City from Spain to get the apartment ready to be occupied a family friend. It had been vacant for months after the death of her mother. 

Police sources say Vitels didn’t know when she went to the apartment that two squatters had been living there. When she arrived, she could be seen on surveillance video coming and going from the apartment. 

Police believe the two suspects returned to the apartment after Vitels arrived, surprised and killed her by beating her to death. 

Her body was found stuffed in a duffel bag in the front closet of an apartment on the 19th floor of the building on 31st Street. Superintendent Jean Pompee let concerned family members into the apartment on March 14 after they couldn’t reach her. 

“The male pointed to the closet, he said he believed that there’s a body in the bag,” Pompee said. “And all of her clothes were down, so you really couldn’t see the bag. You could see partially, a little bit.” 

The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head

Police sources said they’ve identified two squatters they believe beat her to death. These sources said they were not known to Vitels, but may have been squatting in the apartment before she started moving either herself, or someone else, in. 

The two suspects are seen on video stealing her Lexus from the street out front and fleeing. The car, police sources said, was later involved in an accident in Pennsylvania.

Sources said the two suspects went to used car dealers after the crash looking to buy a car. They remain at large.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.    

Son mourns mother’s death

Multiple boxes addressed to the apartment were sitting in the building lobby last week as Vitels was starting to move in. 

“She was so excited to move into the city,” Vitels’ son, Michael Medvedev, said. 

CBS2 spoke with a proud and laughing Vitels in 2021 as she opened up her home garage to serve as storage for her son’s new business. Monday at her funeral, her son thanked her for believing in him as he unexpectedly had to say goodbye to his mother. 

“Not only did she deep down support my entrepreneurialship, crazy venture idea, but she helped fund it early on,” Medvedev said. 

Medvedev told mourners his mama, as he called her, grew up in Russia, played tennis, worked hard and traveled. 

“So beautiful. So smart. So selfless. She was so witty, so clever, so resourceful,” Medvedev said. 

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