WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A former day laborer was arrested in the bludgeoning death of the wife of a millionaire McDonald's franchise owner at their New York hilltop estate in 2015.
Esdras Marroquin Gomez, 32, pleaded not guilty on Monday at his arraignment on a murder charge in the death of 83-year-old Lois Colley, according to the Westchester County district attorney's office, who said he was indicted by a grand jury last year.
Colley's body was discovered in her home by a caretaker who worked at her 300-acre horse farm in North Salem. She died of blunt force trauma. At the time there was no sign of forced entry and no valuables had been taken.
Gomez had done work at the farm and fled to Guatemala just days after the killing, prosecutors said.
"The murder scene was horrendous," Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino said. "From our evaluation, we believe the murder weapon was a home fire extinguisher, and she was brutally assaulted."
Police found a pin from a fire extinguisher next to Colley's body. Several days later, investigators found the fire extinguisher wrapped in a plastic bag in a pond on the property, Scarpino said. Colley's DNA was found on the fire extinguisher.
"We believe there was a dispute, and he visited the house possibly to speak to someone else in the family," Scarpino said. "And he confronted Lois."
Scarpino said the dispute may have been about money, but Gomez was no longer employed at the farm when the attack took place, he said.
Gomez was arrested in Miami after being deported from Mexico, where he had been working illegally, according to Scarpino, who described his capture as an elaborate international effort. Mexican authorities deported him to Guatemala, and over the weekend he was placed on a flight that stopped in Miami, where Federal Bureau of Investigation agents boarded the plane and arrested him.
Gomez is next due in court on Dec. 7. Information on his lawyer wasn't immediately available.