Teen Squatters Taken Into Custody After Woman Found Dead In Duffle Bag
Dauphin County

Two teenagers wanted in connection to the killing of 52-year-old Nadia Vitels after she reportedly found them squatting in a New York apartment have been taken into custody.

Vitels and the two teens, Halley Tejada, 19, and Kensly Alston, 18, got into a confrontation earlier this month when Vitels went to her late mother’s apartment and found the pair occupying the home, according to ABC 7 New York.

The 52-year-old was later found stuffed in a duffle bag inside the apartment after Vitels’s son went to the apartment to check on her. A medical examiner determined Vitels died of blunt force trauma to the head. She reportedly had multiple facial fractures, a brain bleed, and broken ribs.

Tejada and Alston were arrested in Pennsylvania, after a car accident. The pair were driving Vitels’s Lexus.

“Both Halley Tejada and Kensly Alston were taken into custody in the 200 block of Liberty Court, York, PA on charges of receiving stolen property (RSP),” a press release from the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force said. “The charges stem from a motor vehicle accident that happened on March 13, 2024, when the vehicle that Kensly Alston was driving collided with another vehicle causing an accident in the 5000 block of Jonestown Road, Dauphin County, PA. It was later discovered that the vehicle belonged to a murder victim out of Kips Bay, NY.”

The press release noted that investigators were able to identify both Tejada and Alston as persons of interest related to the homicide of Vitels. The pair face possible extradition back to New York.

Squatting has become an increasing problem in cities across the country in the wake of the pandemic. A leftist push for tenants’ rights in conjunction with pandemic-related eviction moratoriums are believed to have spurred the crisis.

Just last month, a woman in Queens, New York, named Adele Andaloro was arrested for changing the locks to her own million-dollar home in an attempt to remove at least three people who were living there illegally.

In early February, the property was taken over by the squatters, who locked Andaloro out of the home. When ABC 7 took cameras to the property to investigate the matter, Andaloro was able to briefly get into her home after one female squatter left the door unlocked. She then had a locksmith change the locks, but just ten minutes later, two male squatters came back to the home and forced themselves inside. The squatters then called the police on Andaloro, the homeowner, and she was arrested for “unlawful eviction.” 

In New York City, squatters have rights after just 30 days. It’s against the law for property owners to turn off utilities, remove belongings, or change the locks. Property owners have to take squatters to court, a legal avenue that can take months or possibly years to resolve. 

Cities like Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Atlanta have also seen alarming trends with illegally occupied homes. For example, the National Rental Home Council in January found that around 1,200 homes in the metro Atlanta area had squatters. 

Some politicians are now taking on the issue.

The Republican-controlled Florida Senate earlier this month passed HB 621, which allows property owners to request action by law enforcement to immediately remove squatters and could lead to criminal penalties. Lawmakers in Alabama have also advanced a Republican-sponsored HB 182, which gives property owners the right to have a squatter removed by law enforcement within 24 hours of signing a sworn affidavit. 

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