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More evidence seized in probe of Cary woman's death

Posted June 2, 2008

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— Authorities investigating the death of a Cary woman whose body was found burning along Interstate 85 in Virginia in January confiscated traces of tape and yellow fiber from the back seat of her husband's vehicle, as well as an unknown substance from the back of the car.

The new details are provided in a one-page inventory of 32 additional items seized in a Jan. 23 search of Harish Patel's car. Patel is accused of murder in his estranged wife, Vanlata Patel's, death.

The page, made public Monday, was inadvertently left off the search warrant. The error was discovered March 26 during a review of the case file. Police said in a memorandum that appropriate actions were immediately taken to document the oversight.

In that Jan. 23 search, police also seized a Circle K receipt that apparently links Patel to surveillance video of him allegedly buying a red gasoline container and paying for gasoline on the day his wife's body was found.

What the warrants do not disclose, however, is how Vanlata Patel died or a motive for her death.

They do indicate that police were looking for yellow rope or twine as well as gasoline or any other substance that could have used to start a fire.

Authorities have said Vanlata Patel's partially clothed body was found with a comforter underneath and that interlaced in the body, clothing and comforter was a section of rope.

Patel is being held in the Wake County Jail without bond.

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