SUFFERN - Officials believe a couple who jumped to their deaths from the George Washington Bridge had murdered the woman's uncle in Suffern.
Police say Nickie Hunt-Cirelli, 40, and Gary Crockett, 41, killed Cirelli's uncle Vincent William Valenti, 70, in the house the three shared on Washington Avenue. The Rockland County Medical Examiner says Valenti's body was found in his bedroom dead of asphyxiation.
Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn says the motive behind the murder-suicide was an ongoing dispute over money between the three parties. He says investigators have learned that Hunt-Cirelli and Crockett may have withdrew between $1,000 and $1,500 from Valenti's bank account without his permission. His car is also missing.
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Authorities say there was a note left in the home that implicated Hunt-Cirelli and Crockett and indicated they meant to kill themselves by jumping off the bridge together. In the note written by Hunt-Cirelli, she tells her children she loves them and apologizes for a rough upbringing.
Rescuers found the pair still alive in the water, but both later died in the hospital.
Police say both suspects have criminal records, Hunt-Cirelli has a record for grand larceny and forgery and Crockett for possession of narcotics. Chief Osborn says that because the suspects who allegedly committed the murder are also dead, there are certain questions that may never be answered.
Valenti's death is Rockland's second homicide this year.