NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Investigators say they are trying to determine if a woman’s body found in a Philadelphia basement is that of a missing Bronx woman.
Vianela Tavera, a mother of five from Soundview, hasn’t been seen or heard from since July 28. She is known in her community as a woman fiercely devoted to her children, working hard to support them.
“That’s a beautiful woman,” neighbor Fernando Rodriguez told CBS2. “She was beautiful woman.”
Now they are anxiously waiting for word about what may have happened to the 50-year-old.
Surveillance video shows some of the last images of Tavera since she went missing. She is seen returning home from work, pulling up in her SUV in her bus driver uniform.
Her family was in Philadelphia on Monday, meeting with investigators after a possible break in the case. CBS2 spoke with her niece by phone.
“They found a body,” Jonnely Claro said. “Ninety-nine percent sure it’s her.”
On Sunday night, the body of a woman was found in a home in the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia. Police later said the body could be Tavera.
“They did find in the basement, on the floor, a female who was deceased. Obviously dead. She was fully dressed however, she was badly decomposed,” said Scott Small, chief inspector with the Philadelphia Police Department. “Possibly may be the female that was missing from New York and believed to have been murdered.”
Tavera left her family on July 28 for planned trip to Philadelphia where her boyfriend, 38-year-old Luis Negron-Martinez, lives.
Two days later, police said her SUV was found in Virginia with Negron-Martinez inside. He was arrested for allegedly stealing her SUV and for having a gun inside the vehicle.
Tavera’s family members said they don’t know much about Negron-Martinez, but that the couple had been dating for about a year and a half.
Her neighbors are now praying for her children, the youngest just 10 years old.
“Every day she come from work, from the bus company,” said Rodriguez. “I know, very sad.”
Negron-Martinez is being held without bond in Virginia. Investigators say he has made incriminated statements to police, claiming that he killed her, Burrell reported.
Meanwhile, police in New York have officially closed her missing persons case as the investigation continues.