Indictment: Missing kayaker's fiancee tampered with plug, paddle

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Marcus Solis reporting

Authorities have unsealed the indictment of the fiancee of a kayaker whose body was found in the Hudson River over the weekend.

Angelika Graswald, 35, has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. She's also accused of tampering with her fiance's kayak plug and the paddle.

The body of 46-year-old Vincent Viafore was recovered from the Hudson River on Saturday. State troopers discovered Viafore's body floating in the water in the same area where he vanished more than a month ago while kayaking with Graswald.

Police had been searching for Viafore since he disappeared during the trip on April 19, when officials received a call that Viafore's kayak had capsized on the Hudson River. They located Viafore's kayak and Graswald's.

Graswald said she was unable to save Viafore when he capsized without a life jacket during their trip to scenic Bannerman Island. Graswald herself 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, 35, was charged with murder. Prosecutors said she wanted out of their relationship - and to get her hands on $250,000 in life insurance.

The indictment alleges that Graswald removed the plug from his kayak and tampered with his paddle. It also alleged that she pushed the floating paddle away from him as he struggled in the cold, choppy Hudson after his kayak capsized, then waited 20 minutes to call for help.

Graswald initially told reporters her soon-to-be husband passed away in a terrible accident. However, investigators said Graswald admitted to tampering with Viafore's boat and allegedly stated she "wanted him dead."

"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.

The cause of death has not been released. Graswold's attorney, Richard Portale, contested the information in the indictment.

"Says who?" he said. "This is some new contortion and mischaracterization of some oral statement she's made. It's not impressive."

Portale said Viafore's death was nothing more than a tragic accident. "I don't think it's fair to see it any other way."

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 cash or $9 million bond.

Related Topics:
body foundhudson riverCornwall Landing
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