The woman had been reported missing after no one heard confirmation that she had safely arrived. She never returned home at the end of the weekend.
50-year-old Vianela Tavera of the Bronx left her home in the Soundview section of the Bronx, New York to go visit her Philadelphia-based boyfriend, 38-year-old Luis Negron-Martinez, on Friday, July 28. It was the last time her family saw her.
Tavera's family told NBC New York that she always contacted her daughters when she arrived safely in Philadelphia, but on this occasion she hadn't.
She had been dating Negron-Martinez for about a year, and traveled most weekends to visit him.
After she failed to return home on the Sunday, her family filed a missing person's report.
In the meantime, Negron-Martinez had been arrested after he was found with Tavera's SUV in Virginia, in possession of an unregistered weapon and with blood in the back of the vehicle, rambling that he had killed someone.
Eight days later, police were called to a residence in Felton, Philadelphia, where neighbors claimed a foul smell was coming from the house. Upon entering, they discovered a badly decomposed body in the basement.
Because of the state of the body, police were unable to make an immediate identification. Authorities later confirmed it to be the body of the 50-year-old Tavera.
Negron-Martinez is connected to the house in some way, but authorities have not clarified how.
He had explained to the police upon his arrest that he had had a fight with a group of people in Philadelphia, and had shot at them. He claimed not to know whether or not he had shot the mother-of-five in the scuffle.
Tavera was a school busdriver, and much loved by her family and friends.
“She was a very nice person. Very normal. I thought she left for vacation. She really liked the summer. She liked hot weather,” Maria Gonzales, who lived downstairs from Tavera, told the New York Post.
Another neighbor, Fernando Rodriguez, also expressed his sadness as her passing.
“She gets along with everyone on the block. I’m so sad about [her death],” Rodriguez said.