Fiancée of Missing Kayaker Charged with Murder

Angelika Graswalk has been accused of intentionally drowning Vincent Viafore in the Hudson River

Photo: New York State Police/LANDOV

On April 19, Vincent Viafore, 46, drowned after his kayak capsized on the choppy waters of the Hudson River. According to his fiancée Angelika Graswald, who survived the excursion, he wasn’t wearing a life jacket and the difficult weather conditions made it impossible to keep him from drowning.

On Thursday, Graswald, 35, was charged with Viafore’s murder.

“Initially, we believed her to be a survivor of a tragic accident,” Major Patrick Regan, a New York State Police commander, said at a news conference after the arrest. However, “some inconsistencies in the accounts she gave of those last minutes led investigators to be suspicious.”

He added, “She made statements that implicated herself in this crime, enough to certainly have reasonable cause to have made the arrest.”

According to CBS New York, police in New York’s Orange County became suspicious of Graswald after hearing her tell different versions of the evening’s events and being unable to find Viafore’s body. Also confusing was the fact that Viafore was known to be a good swimmer with a passion for water sports and had a strong build.

Kimberly Popovich, a longtime friend of Viafore’s, told the New York Times that she, too, suspected something was wrong with Graswald’s story.

“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,” Popovich said.

“You want to believe that people are good, but you have that feeling in your gut that something is probably just not right,” Popovich added.

There were also contradictions in Graswald’s behavior as time went on.

Shortly after Viafore’s death, she described the evening’s events to News 12 Westchester, saying, “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.

“He kept, like, watching me, and I kept watching him,” she said. She tearfully remembered calling out, “Just hold on, just hold on!” and Viafore’s responding with, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

Despite this emotional interview, according to the Times, Graswald’s friends said she “behaved as if a huge weight had fallen off her” after the accident. And although she did post on her Facebook page about missing Viafore, Graswald also posted a photo of her doing yoga beside a river and, on a photo of her in a kayak, responded to a comment of “You did everything you could” with a picture of a rainbow.

After Thursday’s arrest, Graswald gave News 12 another interview, this time from Orange County Jail, in which she maintained that she has been wrongfully accused. Graswald said the arrest came after police found her diary and that they are alleging that she tampered with Viafore’s kayak to intentionally drown him.

When asked for comment by the Times, Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler said he was “not going to speak of” Graswald’s suspected motives.

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