Angelika Graswald Is Charged with Second-Degree Murder in Kayaking Death of Vincent Viafore

By Diane Herbst
Updated June 07, 2016 09:20 PM
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A New York State Police investigator says that Angelika Graswald was not a suspect in the disappearance of her fiancé during a kayaking trip on the Hudson River last year until she allegedly told an investigator that she removed a small plug on the top of his kayak and “sabotaged” his paddle, according to The Poughkeepsie Journal and The Times-Herald Record.

“I had no idea she was going to confess” to anything, Aniello Moscato testified Tuesday during a pretrial hearing in an Orange County, New York court, according to The Poughkeepsie Journal.

The hearing is to determine if statements Graswald made to investigators can be admitted at trial.

Vincent Viafore, 46, drowned on April 19, 2015 in the Hudson River after his kayak capsized in rough seas and windy conditions. He and Graswald were kayaking back to the mainland from an afternoon on on island in the Hudson called Bannerman’s Island.

Graswald, 36, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Viafore, whose body was recovered on May 23, 2015.

Prosecutors have said that Graswald was the primary beneficiary on Viafore’s two life insurance policies, and stood to gain $250,000 if he died.

Graswald’s attorney, Richard Portale, has said that Viafore, who was not wearing a life vest, died accidentally when his kayak capsized and he fell into the frigid water.

Kayaking and hypothermia experts have told PEOPLE that it was a dangerous day to be out on 46-degree waters without a life jacket or wet suit, and that the kayaks Viafore and Graswald used were not suited to handle the turbulent Hudson.

In the days after Viafore disappeared, state police investigators worked closely with Graswald, who even invited them to a gathering at a nightclub to honor Viafore, Moscato testified during questioning by Portale, according to reports.

“For nine or 10 days we were all on an emotional rollercoaster,” Moscato said, according to The Poughkeepsie Journal. “I kind of felt some of the pain she was experiencing, as well as the Viafore family … and she was being treated like a grieving widow.”

On April 29, 2015, Graswald met investigators on Bannerman’s Island. She had gone there to lay a wreath for Viafore, while the police were there to look for evidence.

Portale asked if Moscato recalled telling Graswald that “what you re holding inside of you is burning a hole in you to which he replied “Something like that,” according to The Poughkeepsie Journal.

Graswald started opening up about “relationship trouble” between her and Viafore once police told her they “thought something was bothering her,” according to The Poughkeepsie Journal.

While she was speaking to another investigator alone on the island that day, Graswald then allegedly confessed to tampering with Viafore’s kayak and a ring on his paddle.

Graswald was acting “happy-go-lucky” after this alleged confession not like someone who just confessed to murder, Moscato testified, according to reports.

As Graswald headed off the island with police in their boat to state police barracks, she joked with them about whether they were worried she’d jump out, and she tossed a flower in the water in Viafore’s memory, Moscato testified, according to The Times-Herald Record.

“We watched the flower sail away into the Hudson,” he said. Testimony resumes Thursday.