Local News

Va. Body Is Cary Woman; Murder Probe Under Way

Posted January 22, 2008
Updated January 24, 2008

— Charred remains that firefighters found while battling a brush fire in Mecklenburg County, Va., last week are those of a missing Cary woman, authorities said Tuesday.

Vanlata Patel, 57, was last seen Jan. 16, her son, Ashesh Patel, told WRAL. She was reported missing Friday after she failed to board a plane Thursday to Toronto, where she was supposed to visit him.

A DNA match made Tuesday identified the remains, and although the cause of Patel's death has not been released, investigators said in a news release that they are treating her death as a homicide.

“While we know that there’s a tremendous amount of interest in any and all details surrounding this case, we are not in a position at this time to offer any information beyond what’s included (in the news release) in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation,” Capt. David Wulff said.

According to Mecklenburg County authorities, Patel's body was found about 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 wrapped in a comforter at the center of the brush fire. It was about 20 feet off an embankment along Interstate 85's mile marker 19.

“Our prayers are with Mrs. Patel’s family and friends during this very sad and difficult time,” Wulff said. “No resource is being spared as we work collaboratively with Mecklenburg County and numerous other law enforcement agencies to solve this horrific crime.”

Patel's family members had no comment and said they did not plan on speaking publicly until after an arrest.

Investigators still ask that anyone with information about Patel's death to call the Cary Police Department at 919-469-4012.


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  • UpwardlyMobile Jan 23, 2008

    My husband hates it when I do this but.... I think her husband did it. I feel it in my gut.

  • bomanicous Jan 23, 2008

    I hope this woman didn't suffer. I have a feeling this was a very violent murder.

    BTW...What does the crusades have to do with anything??? That was over 1,000 years ago. Try to keep up with current events.

  • Closed II Jan 23, 2008

    scubagirl - "ptahandatum Exaclty where are you talking about where Christians were . . . murdering innocent people?"

    Salem Witch Trials

  • beantownbred Jan 23, 2008

    I smell an estranged husband somewhere in the mix!

  • ptahandatum Jan 23, 2008

    How can you have a loving and faitfull god that doesn't even show up at any kind of disaster to help avert it? You forget this christian god was made by man along with all those other embellished high falooting tales. That's why nothing is being done to help this world. This world will become better by HUMANS learning to work with each other and not against each other by continuing the killings just because of a made up, make believe religion. Who knows? This woman may have been killed because of someone's christain based religious teachings. It happens all the time.

  • Frank Downtown Jan 23, 2008

    Husband did it!

  • PDMARTIN Jan 23, 2008


    It wasn't a crime of passion it was a crime of GREED

  • OD Norwood Jan 23, 2008

    "what is wrong with people now days until the court starts makeing people pay for these crimes it will keep going on. Bring back hanging in the public square I bet crime will go down

    When were people hung in the public square? Way before my time...hmmmmn... makes one wonder.

  • Closed II Jan 23, 2008

    Groovy - "Some Indians don't respect women at all."

    There's potentially a handful out of twelve that he'd better find some respect for. ;o)

  • Scubagirl Jan 23, 2008

    "ptahandatum Exaclty where are you talking about where Christians were burning people alive and murdering innocent people?" dukebbfan Did you really ask this question????? Can you say Crusades???