The Orange County woman suspected of killing her fiance during a kayaking trip on the Hudson River in April appears to have confessed to the crime during a videotaped interrogation—but experts caution that the confession could have been coerced.
Angelika Graswald, 35, is accused of sabotaging fiance Vincent Viafore's kayak on April 10th, falsely capsizing her own kayak and watching as he drowned in the river. Authorities say Graswald told police that she did indeed try to kill him and that "it felt good knowing he was going to die," and the Orange County medical examiner officially ruled that Viafore died in a "homicide" due to a "kayak drain plug intentionally removed by other," though Graswald's attorney says that ruling is an overstep and nothing more than speculation.
Then, there is the taped confession, obtained from an Orange County detective by CBS's "48 Hours." In the video, Graswald appears to tell a detective that she'll give him a statement, saying, "I wanted him dead and now he's gone. And I'm okay with it." When the detective asked her why, she said, "I wanted to be free," and added that she was relieved.
Still, false confession expert and former Washington, D.C. detective Jim Trainum told the station that the confession was merely a sliver of contradicting detail that came from 11 hours of interrogation. Trainum warns Graswald may have been asked leading questions by officers looking to draw out a confession. For instance, police have reportedly been trying to get her to confess to removing a plug from Viafore's kayak the day before their trip, though the video shows Graswald telling officers the plug was already out of the boat. "To me this is a non crime," Trainum tells "48 Hours." "This is an accident that made into a criminal offense because of their gut feeling."
Graswald's attorneys say Viafore's death was an accident. Prosecutors contend her motive was a $250,000 life insurance payout she was expected to get if and when Viafore died.