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Teen squatters wanted in death of NYC mom found in duffel bag are busted in Pennsylvania after fleeing in her car

Two fugitive squatters wanted for killing a New York mom whose body was found stuffed in a duffel bag inside a Manhattan apartment were busted in Pennsylvania on Friday, police sources said.

Halley Tejada, 19, and Kensly Alston, 18, were tracked down by US Marshals in York, west of Philadelphia, just before 11 a.m. and taken into custody, the sources said.

It came a little over a week after the body of 52-year-old Nadia Vitels was found hidden in a closet at a 19th-floor apartment on East 31st Street owned by her late mom.

Investigators believe the suspects had been squatting in the upscale apartment and beat Vitels to death when they came face to face with her there on March 12, police said.

Nadia Vitel’s body was discovered in her late mom’s 19th-floor apartment on East 31st Street last week. Nadia Vitels/Facebook
Nadia Vitel’s body was discovered in her late mom’s 19th-floor apartment on East 31st Street last week. Nadia Vitels/Facebook


The home had been vacant for roughly three to four months and Vitels, fresh from a trip to Spain, had gone there a couple of days prior to get it ready so a family friend could stay there.

After bringing several items to the apartment the morning of March 10, she left and spent that night and the next one on Long Island herself.

At around 2 p.m. March 10, the suspects were spotted on surveillance footage entering through the lobby and then taking the elevator up to the apartment, police sources said.

Her 23-year-old son received a text from her phone the night of March 12, according to the sources.

Two days later, the worried young man called the police for a wellness check and, while waiting for cops to arrive, entered the apartment with super Jean Pompee.

The son looked around and was exiting the apartment when he spotted a duffel bag in the closet by the door that had a coat on top of it — and a foot sticking out of it, according to the sources.

Vitels’ body was found inside, with blunt force trauma to the head, multiple facial fractures, a brain bleed and two broken ribs.

A bloodstain remained Thursday on the floor of the closet where her body was found and one of the walls of the apartment had a huge crack, grim photos of the crime scene show.

The suspects were seen on surveillance video fleeing the apartment in the wake of the slaying and taking off in the dead woman’s Lexus SUV, according to cops.

They fled through New Jersey into Pennsylvania, where they crashed the SUV in Lower Paxton Township, police said.

The pair had been using the victim’s credit cards in the Keystone State, according to law enforcement sources.

They will face extradition to New York City to face possible murder raps.

Tejada, of Washington Heights, and Alston, of The Bronx, are also being charged by the Lower Paxton Township Police Department with receiving stolen property, according to a criminal complaint.

“The charges stem from a motor vehicle accident that happened on March 13, 2024, when the vehicle that Kensly Alston was driving collided with another vehicle …,” the US Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force of the Middle District of Pennsylvania said in a statement.

“It was later discovered that the vehicle belonged to a murder victim out of Kips Bay, New York.”

Police there said that after the crash on March 13, Alston first gave cops a fake name, “Rose,” and gave them an address in York that turned out to be her grandmother’s before admitting she lived in the Big Apple and had lied because she was nervous and didn’t have a driver’s license or ID, an affidavit states.

Tejada has at least one prior arrest in New York for assault from February, according to police sources.

Pompee, the super, who has lived in the Kip’s Bay building for 22 years, said a key is needed to use the elevator.

“We don’t know if they had a key. That’s the mystery,” he said Thursday.

Other residents were shocked, too, by the brutal crime.

“I feel terrible,” said Miriana Stojkovic, 74, who has been in the building for five years and lives in the other apartment on the 19th floor.

“Everybody feels terrible,” she added. “People are not friendly anymore. They are afraid because of this. Nobody is allowed to open the door for anyone anymore.”

Additional reporting by Tina Moore