Pennsylvania Mom Died After 'Internal Decapitation' in 2017 — and Her Husband Was Just Arrested
Jessica Vecchiola was found dead under suspicions circumstances by her mother
More than two years after his wife’s mysterious death, a 34-year-old Pennsylvania man is behind bars, charged with her murder.
In a statement provided to PEOPLE, Allegheny County police confirmed Antonio Vecchiola was detained on Thursday for his alleged role in the 2017 killing of his estranged wife, 29-year-old Jessica Vecchiola.
Vecchiola, charged with a single count of criminal homicide, remains in custody without bail. It was unclear Friday if he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
The statement confirms Penn Hills Police were called to the home of the victim shortly before 7 p.m. on February 8, 2017, “after she was discovered unresponsive by her mother.”
She was pronounced dead at the scene, and the results of an autopsy revealed she died from “Atlanto-Occipital Dislocation.”
At that time, the medical examiner could not pin down a definitive cause of death, offering only that more investigative work needed to be done.
An “Atlanto-Occipital Dislocation” is known as an “internal decapitation,” defined as the separation of the ligaments of the spinal column from the base of the skull.
“The County Police became involved in the investigation on February 8, 2017, after learning of the suspicious circumstances,” the statement reads.
“The investigation into Jessica’s death had continued over the past couple years. In January 2019, the investigative details surrounding Jessica’s death were presented to the Medical Examiner’s Office. As a result of that information, the manner of death was changed from ‘Pending Investigation’ to ‘Homicide.'”
According to CBS Pittsburgh, police said the investigation was complicated by the fact that the victim sprained her neck days before during a fight stemming from a dispute on the road.
The outlet reports Vecchiola was a mom of two young boys.
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The circumstances leading up to her death have not been disclosed.
Police ask that anyone about Vecchiola’s death call the Allegheny County Police Tip Line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS or 1-833-255-8477.
Callers can remain anonymous.