Local News

Cary Man Indicted in Wife's Death; Drunken 911 Call Released

Posted February 26, 2008 10:04 a.m. EST
Updated February 26, 2008 4:37 p.m. EST

— A Cary man was indicted on a charge of murder Tuesday in connection with the death of his estranged wife.

Meanwhile Tuesday, authorities also released the Jan. 26 911 call Harish Patel, 60, made saying he was dying. That call led authorities to search his apartment again, three days after a previous search.

At times, during the seven-minute call, Patel is unresponsive as the 911 operator, and later, police, call out his name.

While emergency crews and police were at the scene responding to the call, they saw a knife and other documents they thought might be relevant in their probe into death of Vanlata Patel.

Her charred body was found in Virginia Jan. 16; Patel was arrested and charged Feb. 11.

An affidavit 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.

The warrant also said she had disclosed physical and mental abuse to various family members and friends.

The Patels had been married since 1996 and had adult children from previous marriages. She filed for divorce in November, and court records indicate the two had a dispute with over how their financial assets, including more than $400,000 in Swiss bank accounts, should be divided.

According to the warrant, the couple had been discussing and had agreed to an out-of-court settlement regarding the division of assets and she might have been at her estranged husband's apartment on Jan. 16.

Patel, who was denied bond earlier this month, is in the Wake County jail awaiting trial. He is expected back in court March 6.