Relative: 'Relief' after kayaker's body believed found

The uncle of the missing kayaker whose body is believed to have been pulled from the Hudson River Saturday says he's feeling "relief" to have closure in the search for a body.

Vincent Viafore, 46, of Poughkeepsie, was last seen on April 19 kayaking on the Hudson River with his fiancee, Angelika Graswald. On Sunday, an attorney for Graswald told News 12 that the body was found by police Saturday off the shore of the Cornwall Yacht Club in Cornwall-on-Hudson.

Police say the body was in the water for so long that they will not officially confirm it is Viafore until they get dental records.

Viafore's uncle, Al Viafore, says the apparent recovery of the body has brought mixed feelings. "I guess it's a relief," he says. "It's not a good thing, it's not a bad thing. It's just done ... Not knowing whether or not it was him was the concern."

Angelika Graswald, 35, was charged with second-degree murder after officials say she admitted to tampering with Viafore's kayak. She reportedly told police that Viafore likely drowned after falling out of his kayak without a life jacket, but investigators cited inconsistencies in her story when they arrested her earlier this month.

Prosecutors say Graswald told police she felt trapped in the relationship and that it "felt good knowing he was going to die." She also stood to benefit from a $250,000 life insurance payout and allegedly told police what she would do with the money.

Graswald is a Latvian native who speaks Russian. Her attorney says there was a language barrier in the way when she spoke with investigators and made those statements. Her attorneys have requested to observe the autopsy of Viafore's body.

Viafore's uncle says the possibility that his nephew's death was a homicide is too painful to believe. "If it's an intentional murder case, it puts the whole thing in a terrible, terrible direction that I don't even want to think about right now," Al Viafore said.

Officials say the warm temperatures over the weekend aided in their search for Viafore's body. A positive identification is expected this week.

Graswald has yet to enter a plea. Her bail has been set at $3 million cash or $9 million bond.

 

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