The chilling words Angelika Graswald allegedly uttered, “knowing he was going to die felt good,” to police after her fiance went missing left no doubt in the minds of police that she had committed murder. In short, the Hudson River kayaking “accident” was allegedly not an accidental drowning; Graswald plotted his death, citing a Daily Mail news report.
Graswald, 35, is believed to have killed Vincent Viafore, 46, on April 19. Reportedly, the Poughkeepsie resident told investigators she “tampered with” Viafore’s kayak, with the knowledge that it “would contribute to his death.” During an interrogation, Angelika Graswald, according to documents, told law enforcement that she “felt happiness and relief” when she knew the man was going to die.
— Nicole Williams (@NcoleWilliams) May 17, 2015
Prosecutors from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office believe Angelika Graswald planned the man’s death and made it look like a boating accident. The alleged death by drowning is believed to have been motivated by greed; supposedly the woman is a beneficiary on two of the man’s life insurance policies, and she knew it.
Graswald and Viafore departed Plum Point, not far from the shore of Cornwall-On-Hudson, shortly after 4 p.m. The two were heading to Pollepel Island (many know the destination point as Bannerman Island) for a weekend getaway. The woman, who lost her job as a bartender, volunteered there as a gardener. Reporters spoke with Graswald, who said that at some point, things went terribly wrong after two hours on their way back; her fiance’s boat suddenly capsized and began filling with water.
“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.”
Viafore is a tall and powerfully-built man. But despite his strength, Graswald said there was nothing she could do to prevent him from drowning in the river. She didn’t know the man was going to die at that point, but she continued to encourage him to save himself.
“He kept, like, watching me, and I kept watching him,” she said, adding that she told him,”Just hold on, just hold on!”
“He said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to make it.’ I was like, ‘Pff, what are you talking about, you’re going to make it, of course.”
Graswald didn’t call 911 until 7:40 p.m. She remained on the phone and said she could still see the struggling man. Operators lost contact with her. Apparently, she claimed to have then capsized.
However, police say at least one unnamed witness gave another account. They claim to have seen Graswald intentionally capsize her own kayak. Later, when speaking to investigators, she admitted to the inconsistency in her statement. She claimed to have done so because she wanted it to appear as if she tried to save the drowning man. She led police to the scene, where they recovered two kayaks, but the man’s body was not found.
Kimberly Popovich, a longtime friend of Mr. Viafore, doesn’t buy Graswald’s story. In her opinion, a “reckless kayaking trip” was “out of character” for Viafore.
“Even though he had that side of him that was kind of an adrenaline person, he always took precautions about himself. When this story came out that he was on the Hudson at 7:30 at night in those choppy waters, 30 degrees, it just didn’t jibe with me.”
Graswald spoke with News 12 after her arrest. There, she admitted to keeping a diary during “rough times” with her future husband. Several entries talked about wanting Viafore dead. She said it was her way of venting at his demands that they have threesomes. She also said she was troubled by his need for “rough sex.” However, Graswald said she intended to marry and have children with the man, presumed to be dead.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) May 2, 2015
Assistant District Attorney Julie Mohl said Angelika Graswald knew Viafore was going to die while out on the Hudson. Her statements amounted to an admission and was probable cause to make an arrest in the case. Maj. Patrick Regan, a state police commander, spoke to the press in a news conference.
“Initially, we believed her to be a survivor of a tragic accident. Some inconsistencies in the accounts that she gave of those last minutes led investigators to be suspicious.”
Graswald’s lawyer, Richard Portale, says his client is native Latvian and speaks Russian. He believes a language barrier was used by police to coerce statements from the woman, even after she was read her Miranda Rights. He believes there are vast differences in “inconsistencies” and a “confession.”
“What’s changed that has caused the government to now characterize my client’s statements as a confession? Unless we were misled [by police]. It’s all going to come out and the defense will get”our hands on the statements, and find out whether they were voluntary or forced.”
The woman faces 25 years up to life in prison if she is convicted of the second-degree murder charge. Mohl said because Angelika Graswald knew he was going to die, has no ties to the community or country and is unemployed, she should remain in jail until he trial. Her bail was set at $3 million in cash or a $9 million bond.
[Photo: Facebook via New York Times]