Death on the River by Diane Fanning

Death on the River by Diane Fanning

Author:Diane Fanning
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: St. Martin's Press


On May 23, a short distance south of Bannerman Island, deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department lined the Hudson River at West Point U.S. Military Academy, keeping guard during the graduation ceremony for the class of 2015. A private boat glided along the water, its occupants enjoying a beautiful sunlit day. As the boaters neared the Cornwall Country Club, they stumbled upon a disturbing sight—a body floating facedown on the surface of the river. They rushed back to the law enforcement contingent at West Point and reported their gruesome discovery. The deputies kept watch until the state troopers arrived.

The body was pulled onto the dock at the country club. The deceased was a male, and the clothing he wore was very similar to what Vince Viafore had been wearing when he disappeared.

Senior Investigator Moscato felt a measure of relief at this discovery, for he knew the family would have a modicum of comfort now that they could bury Vince’s body. The lingering belief in the possibility of a happy outcome had worn thin and grown fragile, but now it was crushed beneath the iron heel of fate. “I hated dashing the last bit of hope,” Moscato reflected.

Echoing his sentiments, Mary Ann Viafore told CBS that the recovery of her son’s body had filled her with conflicting emotions: “Sad that there was no hope. And happy that at least we found him and can bring him home.”

Sean Von Clauss was devastated. He hadn’t wanted to accept the reality of Vince’s death, but once the body was found he could deny it no longer. Still, it didn’t make sense. “Vinny had no malice towards anyone!” He contacted a medical professional to learn more about hypothermia, seeking to understand the last moments of his friend’s life. “He told me that probably after four minutes in the water, Vinny started to lose motor skills. He said your lungs collapse after ten minutes in that temperature. It gives me chills just thinking about it.”

On Tuesday, May 26, the first workday after the Memorial Day weekend, a medical examiner confirmed the identity of the body found on the Hudson River as that of 46-year-old Vincent Viafore.

That same day, the grand jury of Orange County handed down an indictment accusing Angelika Graswald of murder in the second degree. She also faced a second charge of manslaughter.

In a statement regarding the indictment, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said that Angelika had “yanked the drain plug from Viafore’s kayak” and “moved the paddle away from him as he was struggling to stay afloat.”

Portale mocked the charges, alleging that the accusation about the paddle was nothing but wishful thinking. He added that the removal of the plug would have had no impact on the vessel’s buoyancy.

However, the state police did test their theory in multiple weather conditions, including videotaped evaluations under the exact conditions Vince had faced on April 19. They obtained the same model kayak as the one used by Vince and found a person of the same size to paddle.


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