Couple arrested after friend's body parts found in bags in NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Couple arrested for allegedly murdering, dismembering woman
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Derick Waller has the latest on the gruesome case from the Bronx.

HUNTS POINT, Bronx -- Police say a couple is under arrest after human remains were found inside two plastic bags in the Bronx.

Daquan Wheeler, 31, of the Bronx, is facing charges of murder, manslaughter, concealment of a human corpse, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon.

Ciara Martinez, 30, of the Bronx, is facing charges of criminal facilitation, hindering prosecution, concealment of a human corpse, tampering with physical evidence and conspiracy.

Police walked the suspects out of the 42nd Precinct Wednesday night.

Martinez yelled, "She was my friend and I love her," as police led her away.

Tuesday evening was the second time within the past week that body parts were discovered in the borough, and authorities said both incidents involved the remains of 25-year-old Lisa Marie Velasquez, of Melrose, the Bronx.

Officials determined that Velasquez suffered multiple blunt impact injuries of the head with skull fractures, and her death is being investigated as a homicide.

They say that Wheeler and Martinez had been fighting and Velasquez came over to help.

The police were called for a domestic dispute, but after filing a report, they eventually left.

Wheeler also left, but police say he came back with a hammer, hitting the victim twice in the head.

Velasquez's family members are desperate to understand what happened to her. "The way she was tortured! For Christ's sake. She didn't deserve that," said Jacqueline Perez, the victim's aunt.

Crime scene detectives spent hours packing up bags of evidence at a home where she was reportedly seen before her disappearance on Aug. 21, when Lisa burst into her grandmother's apartment in a panic.

"The last thing my mother remembers is her coming, grabbing her bag and being in a rush, saying that she had to go help a friend that was in danger, and she ran out of the house. That's the last thing," Perez said.

Family members posted a flyer on Facebook in an attempt to find her.

Police received a 911 call just after 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, after they said a child discovered a bag with a foot sticking out of it that washed ashore inside Barretto Point Park, at Barretto Street and Viele Avenue, in the Hunts Point section.

One bag had a human leg and an arm, authorities said. The left leg included the foot, which helped investigators indicating the victim was a woman. The left arm was severed at the shoulder.

A right arm and right leg were found in a second bag, which was sealed when police arrived but later examined by the medical examiner's office. Responding officers patted down the bag at the park and had already deduced it likely contained more remains.

Human remains were also found in two bags on a sidewalk in Crotona Park, in the Claremont section, last Friday afternoon.

The victim's head was recovered last week, leading police to release a sketch of the then-unidentified Velasquez's likeness.

Detectives looked at previous missing persons cases for help making the identification. They executed a search warrant at a home on Longfellow Avenue, where they believe the victim was before she was killed.

By Wednesday evening, police gave the family the tragic news - and as if it could be any more devastating, they had been through all this before.

In the spring of 2006, Lisa's mother, nine months pregnant, was stabbed and strangled in the Bronx. Now she has become the victim of an act of violence.

"In this lifetime I never thought we would go through something like that again," Perez said.