A woman's friend beat her best friend to death with a hammer before the couple dismembered the body, stuffed the remains into plastic bags and dumped them in New York parks, police said Wednesday.
Daquan Wheeler, 31, and his girlfriend, Ciara Martinez, 30, were arrested and charged after Lisa Marie Velasquez's remains were uncovered last week at Crotona Park and near the pier at Barretto Point Park in the Bronx were. The authorities had published a sketch to identify the fragmented body.
Martinez, when led by police on Wednesday, told reporters that Velasquez was her "best friend."
"She was my girlfriend, I loved her," Martinez said.
PEOPLE REMAIN IN PLASTIC BAGS FOUND IN 2 NYC PARKS ARE YOU, WANT POLICE
Wheeler and Martinez were in their apartment in the Bronx when they were involved in a heated argument Fox News: Martinez called Velasquez in the apartment where Wheeler allegedly bludgeoned the 25-year-old woman with a hammer. Martinez helped remove the body of her best friend, police said.
It's unclear when the incident happened, but last Friday Part of Velasquez's remains were discovered in Crotona Park: The police first received a phone call from a suspicious package, but discovered two black bags containing human body parts.
On Tuesday, a passerby spotted a foot from a plastic bag at Bo Ardwalk, which landed in Barretto Point Park, about three miles from the first gruesome discovery. Policemen came to the scene and discovered a leg and a foot in a bag. A second bag with human body parts was also discovered at the scene.
Wheeler was charged with murder, manslaughter, concealing a human corpse, manipulating physical evidence, and criminal possession of a weapon, the NYPD said. Martinez is charged with criminal facilitation, prevention of prosecution, concealment of a human corpse, conspiracy and falsification of physical evidence.
Wheeler has a past criminal history involving burglary and theft. He was arrested six times since 2002 and was suspended until 2019 for a recent prison sentence at the time of the alleged murder of Velasquez, PIX11 said. He was convicted of attempted second-degree murder in 2008 and sentenced to seven years in prison, according to records from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Velasquez's aunt, Jacqueline Perez, remembered with tears at ABC7NY, her last memory of Velasquez.
"How she was tortured, for God's sake, she did not deserve it," she told the news channel. "The last thing my mother remembers is that she comes, packs her bag, and hastens to say she has to help a vulnerable friend, and she runs out of the house."
"This is the last thing."