Fiancee charged with murder in death of missing kayaker in Cornwall

CORNWALL-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- A New York woman whose fiance has been missing since a kayaking trip 11 days ago has been charged with second-degree murder in his death.

State police say inconsistencies in 35-year-old Angelica Graswald's statements led to her arrest in the death of Vincent Viafore. The Orange County district attorney's office announced the charges against the Poughkeepsie woman on Thursday.

On Facebook, they looked for all the world like a happy couple: in loving embrace overlooking the Hudson Valley, living and loving and always together.

When Vincent Viafore disappeared in what she said was a kayaking accident, Angelika Graswald even told her woeful story to reporters.

"I saw him struggling a little bit, he was trying to figure out how to paddle the waves, because they were getting crazy, and then I just saw him flip," Graswald said.

As state police searched the Hudson River near Cornwall for Viafore's body, Graswald took to Facebook: "I miss you my love," and "if only I could have paddled harder." And "please keep your prayers for Vince, miracles are possible." It was, police say, all an elaborate ruse.

"From the very beginning, there were some minor inconsistencies," a police officer said.

Angelika Graswald was charged Thursday with the murder of her 46-year-old fiance Vincent Viafore.

Eyewitness News has learned that on Friday, Graswald and some friends were here at the "Shadows on the Hudson" restaurant and bar, drinking while a band was playing, and holding what appeared to be a memorial service for Viafore whose body still hasn't been found.

Employees of the restaurant have been told not to talk with the media because it's an ongoing police investigation, but Travis Schifko was playing in the band that night.

"I just heard that they were having a remembrance party at the bar or something that night, (at a bar while you're singing songs?) We're pretty upbeat," Schifko said.

People who know Graswald say they just can't believe she's charged with murder.

"She's a very sweet girl, as long as I've known her, she's very energetic, very happy-go-lucky, you know, just a really nice person," said Barbara Gottlock, a friend.

It was, in the end, Graswald's own words during interviews with police that resulted in the charges.

Graswald originally told troopers she and Viafore, were kayaking April 19 when his boat capsized in rough waters near the town of Cornwall-On-Hudson around 7:30 p.m.

Graswald also fell out of her own kayak and was able to contact 911. She was found in the water by a boater and rescued.

Graswald was treated and released from a local hospital for hypothermia.

Both kayaks were located and recovered, but Viafore has not been found.

Authorities are not commenting on how Viafore died or a motive, but the complaint said that Graswald "intentionally cause(d) the death of Vincent Viafore."

The search continues for Viafore's body.

Graswalk was arraigned Thursday and remanded to the Orange County Jail with no bail. The case will now go to an Orange County grand jury.
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