An investigation into a fire at a seniors housing complex in Yonkers revealed a case or arson and then murder. WNBC reports that the Westchester County medical examiner's office announced that 78-year-old Louise Paciarello was strangled to death before her residence at the Kristensen Homes was set on fire Wednesday. Investigators initially thought the fire was suspicious because they found two points of origin for the blaze. Paciarello had lived at the seniors housing complex for 14 years, but her sister said she rarely left her apartment there except to go shopping.
Police said they had no suspects or leads, but were looking into information from neighbors that Paciarello may have been threatened sometime last month. Walter Astapczyk said that the elderly victim showed him a note she found in her apartment. "It said something like, `I was here at 4 a.m. while you were sleeping, and I'll be back.'" There were rumors that Paciarello kept sums of money in her refrigerator, but no money was found there during the investigation. The locks on Paciarello's home were recently changed after she complained that she had heard someone jiggling the doorknob in the past and had also heard someone in her apartment in the middle of the night.