Authorities have arrested a man in connection with the 2015 bludgeoning death of socialite Lois Colley, at her sprawling estate in Westchester County, NY late in 2015.
The suspect, Esdras Marroquin Gomez, 32, a former part-time worker on Colley’s 300 acre horse farm in North Salem, was arraigned early Monday in Westchester County Court on a charge of second-degree murder.
Colley, 83, was found lifeless on the floor of a laundry room inside her $25 million hilltop estate by a caretaker on Nov. 9, 2015. Esdras Gomez Marroquin, also known as “Victor,” allegedly bludgeoned 83-year-old Lois Colley to death with a home fire extinguisher, then fled the country, authorities said.
According to District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, the dispute may have involved money,
Authorities tracked Marroquin to Guatemala, then Mexico and finally nabbed him Friday when he flew into Miami en route back to Guatemala. He had been deported from Mexico, authorities said.
The arrest came almost two years to the day that the socialite was killed at her North Salem estate, authorities said during a news conference today.
NY socialite Lois Colley [left], was married to millionaire McDonald’s franchisee Eugene Colley
Lois was killed in her $300 acre farm in Westchester County, NY in Nov 2015
back in 2016, police charged two male employees the Colley’s sprawling horse farm with stealing from the family. Angel Parra Penafiel, and Hugo Ramirez-Morales were charged with stealing $30,000-worth of hay from Lois Colley over nearly three years, State Police said. The men each pled guilty to the charge of grand larceny after the murder investigation uncovered their scam
Two men, Penafiel Para, 35, and Ramirez-Morales, 36, living on Colley’s Windswept Farm, where they worked as caretakers for many years, prosecutors said in court documents.
Hugo Ramirez-Morales [left], and Angel Parra Penafiel [right], pled guilty in 2016 to stealing $30,000 worth of hay from Colley and her husband over several years
Lois Colley’s murder shocked and mystified investigators, initially. There were no signs of forced entry at her vast estate, and no items reported missing.
Marroquin, 32, was a day laborer. who had done work at the Colleys’ Farm, but because he was not a regular worker with long ties to the family, he was not identified as a suspect until a few days after the killing, at which point he had already fled the country.
Having tracked the Guatemalan native to Mexico, authorities believed Marroquin was in his native Guatemala, but it turned out he was in Mexico.
Authorities had planned to seek his extradition but he was deported from Mexico.
Without a direct flight to Guatemala, forced to travel through Miami, where federal authorities took him into custody on Friday as a fugitive from justice. He was indicted last year on a felony charge of second-degree murder in the Colley case.
The suspect was booked in the Westchester County jail on Friday, and also has an immigration detainer.
Lily Teng, a former housekeeper of the Colleys, from 2000-2005 and had filed a lawsuit against them for unpaid wages and other abuses. The suit was dismissed on technical grounds
Police investigators probe of Colley laborers revealed it was not the first time working conditions at their 300-acre estate, called Windswept Farm, drew legal questions.
Their former housekeeper, Lily Teng, lost her job in 2005 after a dispute over unpaid wages, court records show. The job entailed 14 or 15 hours days, cleaning, cooking and running other odd jobs for the couple
Teng described her work in the Colley mansion as a mix of sweatshop slave and museum curator., whisking dust-covered antiques and working dozens of hours without pay. Her driving the jet-setting millionaires to airports and babysitting their grandchildren.
Teng’s unpaid work tab, including some vacation days and related benefits, stood at nearly $15,700,and another $74,000 in separate overtime remained outstanding, court records show,.
The lawsuit, which sought nearly $400,000. It was dismissed in 2012 when a judge ruled Teng’s attorney failed to properly transfer the case from Queens, where she lives, to Westchester County.
Teng said farm workers told her of similar long hours and payment problems with the Colleys. She described a revolving door of groundskeepers and caretakers, many of them Central American immigrants with tenuous legal status, during her five years as housekeeper, beginning in 2000.