2010-12-23 / Front Page
BREAKING: Police Nab Mahopac Murder Suspect in Taxi Cab
Illegal alien allegedly stabbed wife on Christmas Eve
A 2008 graduate of Mahopac High School who achieved BOCES Student of Distinction commendation was savagely killed on Christmas-eve and her husband, an illegal alien in the U.S. from Ecuador, faces charges of murder.
The body of Graciela Zhingri Amay was found inside her home at 34 Agor Lane in the Mahopac Falls section of the Town of Carmel by a sheriff's deputy who was summoned to conduct a welfare check by a family member.
Sheriff Don Smith said when Deputy Randel Hill looked inside the house through a window he observed a woman lying on the floor with a knife in her chest.
The deputy requested back-up from his department and Carmel Police as well as medical assistance from the Mahopac Falls Fire Department.
Minutes later, police made a forced entry into the home and found the victim who was pronounced dead by Coroner Dr. Michael Nesheiwat.
Throughout the day last Friday, police on the state, county and town level conducted interviews and gathered evidence at the crime scene.
As the investigation continued, the victim's husband, Paul Amay became a person of interest and a statewide broadcast was initiated in an effort to locate the man.
At 4 pm, Ossining Police located Amay in a taxicab. He was detained and investigators from the Sheriff's office traveled to Ossining and returned Amay to Putnam County.
The sheriff said an investigation determined that the couple had become involved in a dispute that escalated to the point where "Mr. Amay strangled his wife outside their home before dragging her body into the house and plunging a knife into her chest numerous times."
Amay was charged with murder and following arraignment before Carmel Justice Joseph Spofford, he was remanded to the Putnam Jail without bail pending future court action.
District Attorney Adam Levy said the crime was a Class A felony carrying a 25 year to life prison term in a maximum security state penitentiary if found guilty.
A neighbor of the couple said the newlyweds had been married for about a year, had a baby and were living with the girl's family who originated from Ecuador. "She was a real sweetheart," said the woman who did not reveal her name.
Police reported a number of responses to the residence for previous reports of domestic disputes.
On Christmas Day, the sheriff sat down with this reporter and called the case "truly tragic. A young mother and daughter was needlessly killed in cold blood. Our hearts go out to her family and friends. To see a young woman taken in the prime of her life struck down hours before Christmas is devastating."
Smith said by having the perpetrator in custody within less than 24 hours after the crime was perpetuated, indicates that police are cooperating and collaborating with each other like never before. Their exemplary investigative skills and dedication in solving this most heinous crime is evident."
The sheriff also had praise for the Carmel PD, Brewster State Police, Ossining Police, Putnam Bureau of Emergency Services and Putnam District Attorney's Office for their assistance.