NEW YORK – For nearly a decade, authorities say, Veron Primus got away with the murder.
His alleged victim was a teenage girl in Brooklyn whose body was tossed away in a garbage bag in 2006. The years passed before disturbing news arrived from the Caribbean that offered a break in the cold case: Primus, 29, was in custody there for in the slaying of one woman and the abduction of another.
The arrest in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in April generated new evidence that allowed Brooklyn prosecutors to seek a murder indictment announced on Wednesday by District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.
Thompson, who declined to detail the new evidence, cautioned that it will take a complex and potentionly lengthy extradition process before the jailed Primus could be brought back to Brooklyn to face charges in the killing of Chanel Petro-Nixon. But the development was a victory for New York Police Department detectives and Petro-Nixon's family, who were credited at a news conference with never giving up on solving the case.
"We have hope that Chanel will get justice, and hopefully very soon," said her mother, Lucita Petro-Nixon, a portrait of her daughter tattooed on her right arm.
The investigation began when Petro-Nixon, a 16-year-old high school student, vanished from the streets of Brooklyn while job-hunting. Authorities have said they believe she had planned to meet up with Primus, an acquaintance who lived in the borough at the time.
Primus remained in the United States until last year, when he was deported to St. Vincent and the Grenadines as part of an unrelated criminal case. New York investigators made their interest in him known to authorities in the island nation, who tipped them off when they took him into custody there.
According to local news reports, Primus was arrested after a woman accused him of keeping her in captivity for four months at a home in his village. He was later charged in the stabbing death of a real estate agent in 2015.
It's unclear what information emerged after the arrest regarding Petro-Nixon. But WPIX-TV in New York has reported that the kidnapping victim told detectives he showed her a 2006 news clipping about the teen's death.
The NYPD said the potential pattern of violence against women has investigators seeing if they can link Primus to other cold cases.
The name of his attorney in the Caribbean wasn't immediately available.