Nadia Vitels, 52, who was found stuffed in duffel bag in her Manhattan apartment was ‘killed by two SQUATTERS who beat her to death’ as cops hunt male and female suspects

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Vitels was killed by two people – a man and woman – who had been squatting
  • They escaped in Vitels’ SUV and made it all the way to Pennsylvania 
  • Police have the suspects on surveillance footage and are in pursuit 

Police have revealed that the mother found murdered and stuffed into a duffel bag at her New York City apartment were a pair of squatters who beat the woman to death.

Nadia Vitels, 52, was found dead in the East 31st Street apartment in Manhattan’s Kips Bay on March 14 after her family called the building superintendent to do a wellness check.

The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide on Friday after an autopsy ruled she died from multiple facial fractures, a brain bleed, two broken ribs and blunt-force trauma to the head.

Now, NYPD Chief of Detectives says the suspects – already believed to be a black male and a black female both in their 20s – were squatting in Vitels’ apartment. 

‘We believe that some squatters took the apartment over and this woman came home … and walked in on the squatters that were there,’ Kenny said.

Nadia Vitels, 52, was found inside the bag in the East 31st Street apartment in Manhattan’s Kips Bay on March 14 after her family called the building superintendent to do a wellness check 

The two suspects were spotted driving off in Vitels Lexus SUV around the time they believe she died and even caught on surveillance footage which has not yet been released to the public.

Kenny added that the unique design of the ‘upscale apartment’ meant they may have been able to hide from Vitels for some time.

‘The apartment itself is very unique in that there’s no front door to apartment. You take an elevator up and then you key your way in. The elevator is actually your front door,’ Kenny told the New York Post.

Michael Medvedev, Vitels’ son, made the grisly discovery of his mother’s corpse upon return alongside the building’s superintendent Jean Pompee, who has lived in there for 22 years, after Vitels had not been seen for 48 hours.

‘As they’re getting ready to leave, the son opens up the closet door near the front door and discovers the duffel bag with a foot sticking out,’ Kenny said. 

While the suspects – one of whom has a prior arrest – remain on the lam after swiping Vitels’ car as of Thursday night, police believe they’re on the right track.

‘As of right now, we have probable cause, we have two subjects, we have the Regional Fugitive Task Force actively hunting as we speak,’ Kenny said.

The couple are believed to have driven across the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey before crashing Vitels’ SUV in Pennsylvania’s Lower Paxton Township.

Her son, Michael Medvedev remember his mother as a smart, beautiful and adventurous woman during her funeral at Gutterman's Funeral Home in Woodbury on Monday

Her son, Michael Medvedev remember his mother as a smart, beautiful and adventurous woman during her funeral at Gutterman’s Funeral Home in Woodbury on Monday

Medvedev said his mother loved her dog and she had adopted the pup while going through a hard time in her life, caring for her sick parents

Medvedev said his mother loved her dog and she had adopted the pup while going through a hard time in her life, caring for her sick parents

NYPD officials did not received the plate numbers on the car until the next day but they know that the squatters immediately tried to spend $1,000 on a replacement vehicle.  

Medvedev remembered his mother as a smart, beautiful and adventurous woman during her funeral at Gutterman’s Funeral Home in Woodbury on Monday.

‘I remember she showed me a gold medal she had earned in high school back in Russia, a student medal of honor for being top in her class. That medal, for some reason, has always stuck with me. It made me feel proud to be her son and I wanted to earn my gold medals to live up to her,’ said Medvedev.

He said his mother had moved to the United States from Russia to attend college in Oklahoma and play tennis, then moved to Miami for graduate school.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Vitels was a marketing professional who worked at Canon, Nokia and tennis star Maria Sharapova’s candy line, Sugarpova.

New York City Police Department officers were seen hauling out several bags of the victim’s items, including three suitcases and bags of her clothes out of the building last week.

Her family told Medvedev they hadn’t heard from her in a few days so he went to up her apartment to check on her and saw signs something was wrong.

Medvedev said his mother loved her dog and she had adopted the pup while going through a hard time in her life, caring for her sick parents.

Sources said police are looking for two suspects described as a black male and a black female both in their 20s, who were spotted driving off in Vitels' Lexus SUV

Sources said police are looking for two suspects described as a black male and a black female both in their 20s, who were spotted driving off in Vitels’ Lexus SUV 

The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide on Friday after an autopsy revealed she died from blunt-force trauma to the head

The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide on Friday after an autopsy revealed she died from blunt-force trauma to the head

‘He became her next obsession, her best friend, her man. He was the only man she needed,’ the son said at her funeral.

‘This little puppy gave her the love she needed to get through the hardest time in her life.’

Pompee discovered her dog urinated all over the floor because it had been unaccompanied which was very unusual.

‘They found a bag in the closet and said, ‘I believe there is a body in here.’ I kind of sensed something was wrong, it kind of looked suspicious,’ Pompee said.

He added that he saw signs of struggle in the apartment as the breaker panel, which he believes is electric, was left damaged.

Vitels’ concerned family members then called the Fire Department who arrived on the scene quickly.

‘The fire department opened the bag and discovered her body,’ Pompee added. ‘I didn’t peek and see the body myself, they just said there was a body in there and called the police. It was in the closet by the entrance to the door.

‘It was in a little type of bag you zipped up, a soft case type. I felt bad, you never want to hear anyone is killed or murdered.’

According to her LinkedIn profile, Vitels was a marketing professional who worked at Canon, Nokia and tennis star Maria Sharapova's candy line, Sugarpova

According to her LinkedIn profile, Vitels was a marketing professional who worked at Canon, Nokia and tennis star Maria Sharapova’s candy line, Sugarpova

Vitels has recently moved into the apartment and her son said she was excited to move to the city

Vitels has recently moved into the apartment and her son said she was excited to move to the city

The superintendent confirmed there was another name on the lease of the apartment Vitels was in and said had only met that person once and forgot what they looked like.

‘Apparently she [Vitels] was subletting. I didn’t know she was going to be moving in,’ he added.

Vitels had reportedly moved into the apartment just days before her death and Medvedev said his mother was looking forward to starting this next chapter in her life.

‘Getting ready to move to New York City where she would conquer the world. She was so excited to move into the city,’ he said.

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