A decomposed body found in a Philadelphia basement is a New York mother of five who went missing nearly two weeks ago, authorities confirmed today.
Vianela Tavera, 50, left her home in the Bronx on July 28 for a trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was going to visit a man police believe to have been her boyfriend, 38-year-old Luis Negron-Martinez, according to New York ABC station WABC.
Tavera was soon reported missing by her family, and a multi-state search got underway and lasted for ten days. Philadelphia’s medical examiner determined that Tavera’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, according to a statement from the Philadelphia Police Department.
Police have said that Tavera’s body was found in the basement of a Philadelphia home that investigators have linked to Negron-Martinez, though to date he has not been charged in relation to her death.
Negron-Martinez was arrested in Virginia on Aug. 3, six days after Tavera went missing — when Fairfax County police answered a call about a man in an SUV who was possibly in need of medical attention.
The man was Negron-Martinez, and the SUV belonged to Tavera.
Police in Virginia also found a 9mm handgun inside the vehicle.
Negron-Martinez is being held in Virginia on charges of grand larceny and possession of a concealed weapon. It was not immediately clear whether Negron-Martinez has retained or been assigned a defense attorney.