Bronx News
Nov 9, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Accused killer nabbed through fingerprint 15 years after slayings

A fingerprint on a phone that was turned into a murder weapon helped Bronx detectives arrest a man they say raped and strangled two women more than 15 years ago, police said Thursday.

Suspect Christopher Gonzalez was finally nabbed this week in Florida and hit with two murder charges.

“He’s not a guy who has been in a lot of trouble,” Lt. William O’Toole, the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Bronx Homicide Squad, said about the 36-year-old alleged cold case killer. “He’s lived under the radar.”

Homicide Detective Malcolm Reiman and his team zeroed in on Gonzalez earlier this year after taking a new look into the murder of 19-year-old Dora Almoteser.

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The victim’s mother found her naked dead body on a bed inside the Van Nest home of the victim’s uncle on Dec. 2, 2000. The teen, who was apartment sitting for her uncle, had been strangled with a phone cord.

Cops exhausted all leads in the killing but the case heated up again on Sept. 3, 2005, when the body of a 25-year-old Yonkers woman was found dumped on the Sprain Brook Parkway.

The victim, Angel Serbey, had also been raped and strangled. DNA recovered from her body matched DNA recovered from Almoteser’s corpse five years earlier, cops said.

“The unknown DNA recovered from the girl in Yonkers was a match to the unknown DNA found in the Almoteser case but we still had no suspect,” O’Toole said.

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In the Almoteser case, cops also recovered a fingerprint on the base of the phone used to kill the teen that didn’t belong to the victim or her family.

When Reiman and Detective Matthew McCrosson took a new look at the case earlier this year and re-processed all the evidence they suddenly got a hit.

The fingerprint was a match for Gonzalez. The Florida resident was fingerprinted in New York in 2005 when he was arrested for driving a car with fake license plates, police said.

Reiman — a dogged investigator who probed Almoteser’s murder 17 years ago — immediately began digging into Gonzalez’s life, learning that he had lived within a few blocks of both Almoteser and Serbey.

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“We proved that Gonzalez had no right to be in Almoteser’s apartment and leave that fingerprint on the body of the telephone,” O’Toole said. “Somebody pulled the cord from that phone to strangle (Almoteser).”

When interviewing Almoteser and Serbey’s families, no one knew who Gonzalez was, O’Toole said.

“(Almoteser) was a good girl. She never got into any trouble,” the lieutenant said. “We suspect these were crimes of opportunity.”

Detectives had enough evidence to go down to Collier County, Fla., to arrest Gonzalez, who is now married and works at a Toys “R” Us.

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On Tuesday, Reiman — who has successfully solved several cold cases, including the 2012 murder of Bronx woman Romona Moore — executed the arrest warrant, prepared with the help of the Bronx District Attorney’s office, against Gonzalez .

Gonzalez immediately denied any involvement in the killing — then quickly demanded a lawyer, cops said. An extradition hearing has been set for Nov. 29.

O’Toole said Almoteser’s family was “quite emotional” when they were told that an arrest was made.

“They were overcome when they learned that someone was working on the case 17 years later,” O’Toole said.

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Gonzalez’s prints and DNA don’t match any other unsolved homicides in New York but detectives are widening their search to see if they can be linked to out-of-state cold cases, officials said.

With Rocco Parascandola

sex crimes
new york rapes
new york murders

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Accused killer nabbed through fingerprint 15 years after slayings

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