NEW YORK – Panamanian police are searching for two Colombians wanted in connection with the brutal murder of a wealthy New York socialite whose charred and dismembered body was found last week by children in a soccer field.
As cops try to unravel the mysterious murder of Toni Grossi-Abrams, new details about her final hours have emerged, according to the Staten Island Advance.
Police have questioned Debra Anne Ridley, a 56-year-old American, in connection with Grossi-Abrams murder. She and a taxi driver identified two Colombians believed to have participated the murder, the paper reported.
Ridley identified the men for Policia Tecnica Judicial Panama (PTJ), Panama's version of the FBI, the paper said.
"She got scared," said Hermelo Altamiranda, PTJ's chief of criminal investigations. "She knew they were going to be after her."
Grossi-Abrams' partially dismembered torso was found propped up behind a building near a soccer field a few miles from her condominium Tuesday. The 57-year-old widow from Staten Island, N.Y., had just begun dating again since the 1998 death of her husband.
The socialite was last seen Monday walking with a man near her condominium.
The taxi driver told police he was hailed by a Colombian with suitcases. They picked up Ridley, another Colombian and a Panamanian and drove to the soccer field, according to the Advance.
"Stay here," he said they told him. "We'll pay you for your time, but don't leave."
The taxi driver saw a flickering of light after the quartet went to the soccer field, the paper reports.
Friends from the Pittsburgh area, where Grossi-Abrams grew up, are devastated by the news of her death.
"Toni was one of our brightest and most successful students to ever graduate from Carrick High School and to hear this ... to hear this — the way she died — it was just horrific," Paul Harrison, a spokesman for the Carrick High School Alumni Association, told WTAE-TV.