New York mother found stuffed in duffel bag after moving into home, people seen leaving in her car: report

A New York woman’s horrified son called police after finding his mother’s dead body stuffed into a duffel bag in her new apartment, where two people were reportedly seen driving away in her car afterward.

Nadia Vitels, 52, was found in her apartment on East 31st Street in Manhattan unconscious and unresponsive inside the bag last Thursday at approximately 4:29 p.m. and declared dead on scene, the New York Police Department told Fox News Digital.

The New York medical examiner determined the Russian native’s cause of death to be blunt-force trauma, the New York Daily News reported. Her manner of death is being investigated as a homicide.

“Beautiful, young, smart, Russian — she was the perfect candidate,” a member of the city medical examiner’s office told the outlet.


Nadia Vitels, 52, was found dead inside a duffel bag at her new Manhattan apartment on Thursday, March 14. (Nadia Vitels/Facebook)

Police saw the discovery after concerned relatives had not heard from her in 48 hours and asked for a welfare check. Michael Medvedev, Vitels’ son, found the duffel bag under a coat in the woman’s closet when the superintendent of her building let him look around, according to the New York Post.

The outlet reported that the woman’s son saw a foot poking out of the bag when he removed the garment.

Jean Pompee, the superintendent, told the Daily News that Vitels’ family knew something was awry when he opened her apartment door and her small dog was inside unattended.

“When I opened the door, the dog was there, [and] the dog was alone,” Pompee told the outlet. “She wouldn’t have left the dog all alone.”


Nadia Vitels hailed from Russia before traveling to the U.S. for her education, and she was ready to start a new life after her son was an adult, her family said. (Nadia Vitels/Facebook)

“He became her next obsession, her best friend, her man. He was the only man she needed,” Vitels’ son said, recalling how his mother’s parents both died last year, according to the Daily News. “This little puppy gave her the love she needed to get through the hardest time in her life.”

Pompee said that one of the slain women’s relatives spotted the conspicuous duffel bag and implored responding police to open it.

“[One of the relatives] immediately pointed to the closet and said, ‘Can you please open this bag? I believe that there’s a body in there,’” Pompee said, the Daily News reported.

A police source told the New York Post that two individuals – a Black man and woman, both in their 20s – were spotted getting into Vitels’ Lexus with New York plates and captured driving west, away from the apartment.

An alarm in the vehicle was set off when they left the scene, the police source told the outlet.

The NYPD confirmed on Tuesday that no arrests had been made and that their investigation was still ongoing.

Sources told the Post that Vitels was in the process of moving into the apartment on the Sunday before her death – security footage showed her repeatedly entering and exiting the building with bags of her belongings that day.


Forensic investigators respond after a woman’s body was discovered in an apartment at 206 East 31st Street in New York City on Thursday, March 14, 2024. (Gardiner Anderson for NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Just after 2 p.m. on Sunday, a Black man and woman were seen entering her apartment, the source told the Post. Vitels was last seen entering her apartment at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The two unnamed individuals were last caught on tape exiting the building around 5:45 p.m. that same evening.

Vitels grew up in Moscow, then moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for college, her son said at her funeral on Monday, the Daily News reported.

She landed a job as a marketer for a nonprofit after attending graduate school in Miami, then for camera company Canon and cellphone company Nokia. She loved tennis and ran tennis star Maria Sharapova’s candy line, the Daily News reported.

“Mama would wake up at 5 in the morning every single birthday and quietly fill my room up with balloons. Last year was the first year she didn’t do it,” Medvedev said of his late mother at the funeral in Woodbury, attended by the Daily News.

Vitels was ready to start a new chapter, her son said, and was “so excited” to be “getting ready to move to New York City where she would conquer the world.”

Christina Coulter is a U.S. and World reporter for Fox News Digital. Email story tips to [email protected].

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