On November 22nd, 2015, in Troy, New York, Noel Alkaramla disappeared after work, she was not seen alive again. Her body was discovered five weeks later in a suitcase that surfaced from the Hudson River at Albany. In November 2017, her stepfather Johnny Oquendo was put on trial for her murder.
On that fateful night, Noel had finished her shift at a local restaurant, and a co-worker had dropped her off in the vicinity of her stepfather’s apartment. At some point in the night, Oquendo strangled Noel and stuffed her body into a suitcase, which he then threw into the Hudson River.
Police were able to zero in on Oquendo due to several factors. A neighbor told police he was awoken by a loud crash coming from Oquendo’s apartment; he then witnessed the killer struggling with a large suitcase. Investigators also discovered that the last call made on Noel’s cellphone was to her stepfather.
At the trial, Noel’s mother, Deborah Napoli, addressed Oquendo telling him, “You got what you deserved. You betrayed me, and you murdered my child.”
She cried tears of joy when the jury convicted her former partner. He was found guilty on all three charges brought against him: murder, strangulation, and concealment of a human corpse.
Oquendo was defiant right to the end and has always maintained his innocence. At his sentencing, he remarked, “I swear, I’m innocent of these charges.” Johnny Oquendo received the harshest sentence the judge was allowed to impose, and he will spend 27 years in prison.
Napoli said on hearing the sentence handed down: “I’m content. Twenty-seven to life, he’s got everything going against him, he’s going into prison. There’s a chance that he’ll die in there. He’s 40-something. Twenty-seven years from now, he’ll be in his late 60s.”
She added, “I want him to suffer in there and remember everything he did.”
Watch the specifics of this horrific case on Dead of Winter at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.