More grisly details have emerged from an investigation into the murder of Eridania Rodriguez, a 46-year-old cleaning woman who vanished during her shift at 2 Rector Street Tuesday night and was found dead at the building Saturday morning. After futilely searching a Pennsylvania landfill for her remains, some 100 officers returned to the building Saturday to search the building from top to bottom. The corpse of a woman strongly believed to be Rodriguez was found in an air duct on the 12th floor, which was under construction and had restricted access.

Her body was found face down in a kneeling position with her hands and feet bound, and tape covering her nose and mouth. The cause of death was asphyxia, according to the Medical Examiner's office, which has not formally identified the body, though a spokeswoman says there is no reason to believe it is not Rodriguez, mother of three. The ME's office is conducting tests to determine if the woman was sexually assaulted. A police source tells the Daily News, "Whoever killed her bashed her head, hogtied her like an animal and stuffed her in the vent—most likely while she was still alive—with the cross stuck on her mouth." It's unclear whether the crucifix was intentionally placed on the woman's mouth, or whether it hung inadvertently.

The officer who found the body, clothed in a cleaning uniform, was led to it by a pool of blood underneath the duct system; NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says the victim had suffered a head wound. The air duct was to be sealed off after the renovation was complete, suggesting the killer hoped she would never be found. The Daily News's source says, "The killer picked a spot that would eventually be sealed up. All very deliberate." A freight elevator operator who worked in the building, 26-year-old Joseph Pabon of Staten Island, remains a person of interest. In addition to having access to the 12th floor, Pabon left work early the night of Rodriguez's disappearance, and when police questioned him the following day, he had scratches on his arms.

Browne says, "We have talked to a number of individuals but we haven't identified a suspect." When asked by reporters outside his home yesterday if he was innocent, Pabon said, "Yeah, of course I am." Eight plainclothes cops remained stationed outside his house, and followed him when he left with his girlfriend, 28-year-old Lisa Marie Blumenberg. He was arrested in April for allegedly punching and choking Blumenberg, 28, before throwing a bowling ball through her car windows in a drunken rage.

Pabon's lawyer tells the Times he's considering filing a civil rights lawsuit against the city because his client was questioned for 24 hours after Rodriguez disappeared. Rodriguez's family said she had grown nervous about working at the building late at night, and was planning to quit. And relatives told CBS2 that a man who worked inside the building had been scaring her: "She told one of her co-workers that she works with and I think she told the supervisor. The supervisor spoke to him and he had to move out of the building."