VSP: Death of woman last fall in Washington ruled a homicide

WASHINGTON, Vermont (Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024) Vermont State Police — The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office has informed the Vermont State Police of the final determination on cause and manner of death for 23-year-old Tanairy “Tanya” Velazquez Estrada, whose body was found Oct. 25, 2023, in the town of Washington.

The medical examiner identified the cause of death as asphyxia due to strangling, and the manner of death as a homicide.

VSP’s investigation into this incident remains active and ongoing. Anyone who might have information that could assist the state police is asked to call the Berlin barracks at 802-229-9191, or provide an anonymous tip online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.

No additional information is available at this time. VSP will provide updates as the case progresses.

***Update No. 2, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, 2023***

The Vermont State Police is able to identify the victim in this incident as Tanairy “Tanya” Velazquez Estrada, 23, who lived most recently in Barre.

Velazquez Estrada was reported missing by her mother to police in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Velazquez Estrada’s mother said she had not heard from her daughter in more than a week. Fitchburg police contacted law enforcement in Vermont at about the same time the victim’s body was discovered in the town of Washington.

An autopsy was performed Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington. A determination of the cause and manner of Velazquez Estrada’s death is pending toxicology testing, which can take several weeks to several months.

Police are continuing to treat this death as suspicious, and the investigation remains active and ongoing. VSP continues to ask that anyone with information regarding this case call the Berlin barracks at 802-229-9191, or provide an anonymous tip online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.

No further details are available. The state police will release additional updates as the investigation progresses. 

***Update No. 1, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023***

The investigation is continuing into the suspicious death reported Wednesday in the Orange County town of Washington.

The Vermont State Police has established a preliminary identification of the victim, who is believed to be a woman in her 20s. Confirmation is pending autopsy, which is scheduled to take place Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington. The Vermont State Police will release additional information following the examination.

Thursday, the Vermont State Police Crime Scene Search Team processed the wooded location where the woman’s body was found. VSP’s Search and Rescue Team, with the assistance of New England K-9 Search and Rescue, examined the surrounding area for additional evidence.

No suspects are currently in custody. Investigators believe this is an isolated incident, and there is no threat to the community.

VSP will continue to provide updates as the case develops.

***Initial news release, 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023***

The Vermont State Police is investigating a suspicious death that was reported Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 25, 2023, in the town of Washington.

Hunters in the woods along Poor Farm Road in Washington discovered a body at about 2 p.m. Wednesday and called police. Responding troopers located the victim deceased at that location. Initial evidence gathered on scene indicates the death occurred under suspicious circumstances.

This investigation is in its infancy and involves members of the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Field Force Division, Crime Scene Search Team and Victim Services Unit. No one is currently in custody.

Troopers are currently processing the scene. The victim’s body will be brought to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death and confirm identity. The name will be released following further investigation and notification of relatives.

Anyone with information that could assist investigators in this case is asked to call the Vermont State Police in Berlin at 802-229-9191. Tips also may be submitted anonymously online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit

No further information is available at this time. The state police will provide updates as this investigation continues.

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