NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police announced Wednesday that a man has been arrested and indicted in the murder of an honor student who was strangled in Brooklyn a decade ago.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Chanel Petro-Nixon, 16, was killed a decade ago in June 2006. It has been an agonizing decade for her mother.READ MORE: Gabby Petito's Family Speaks Publicly For 1st Time Since Her Body Was Found: 'We Can't Let Her Name Be Taken In Vain'
Lucita Petro-Nixon said the last decade tore her apart, not knowing who killed her beautiful 16-year-old daughter. But on Wednesday, police said they had arrested Veron Primus, 29 – a man whom the young teen considered a friend.
“Ten years ago a promising young woman’s life was tragically taken, leaving her family and the community searching for answers,” Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said. “My office remained steadfast in our search for justice and with this indictment, we will ensure that the defendant is brought back to Brooklyn and held accountable for the death of Chanel Petro-Nixon.”
“Finally, at least we can see a light at the end of the tunnel,” added Lucita Petro-Nixon.
On Father’s Day, June 18, 2006 – 10 years ago Friday – Chanel Petro-Nixon left her Bedford-Stuyvesant home and told her family she was going to meet with Primus. She never came home.
Days later, her body was found stuffed in a garbage bag on Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights, Police believe Primus strangled her.
Investigators said they always considered Primus a suspect, but never had enough evidence to make an arrest until now.
“As we went forward, each time he was arrested, we spoke to him about this case. Cagey — I spoke about evil before? This is the epitome of evil,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.
Prosecutors said in 2015, Primus was deported to the Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, after serving time for violating an order of protection by an ex-girlfriend. Then, in April, police in St. Vincent and the Grenadines arrested Primus in connection to the murder of woman there.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
“We go down there and we get some statements from people involved in him about this homicide,” Boyce said. “That’s why we’re here today.”
NYPD investigators said Primus told acquaintances about his involvement in Chanel’s death. Prosecutors said that sealed the indictment.
“We have sufficient evidence. We presented it to the grand jury, and they indicted Veron Primus for murder in the second degree. And we intend to convict him of that crime,” Thompson said.
“There is somebody here in Brooklyn that knows something,” added Lucita Petro-Nixon. “Chanel will get justice, hopefully very soon.”
With the murder trial still ahead, Chanel’s family members said they know the case is far from closed. So on Saturday morning, they will rally at the site where Chanel’s body was discovered 10 years ago.
The family urged anyone who knows anything about the murder to come forward.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said Veron Primus faces attempted kidnapping and murder charges in separate cases in the Caribbean, so it could be some time before he is extradited to New York.
“It is important for us that we bring Primus back to Brooklyn to face justice,” Thompson said. “Even before I became district attorney I felt strongly about this case because Chanel was really all of our daughters.”MORE NEWS: Gov. Hochul Moves To Prevent Health Care Worker Shortages After COVID Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect
He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.