Suspect in Binghamton nursing student murder 'obsessed' with her
The suspect in the murder of a SUNY Binghamton nursing student was reportedly "obsessed" with her, a friend of the victim tells TIME.
The body of 22-year-old Haley Anderson was found Friday afternoon at a home near the university campus. Authorities have ruled the death a homicide but have not released additional details about how she was killed.
Anderson was last seen around 4 a.m. Thursday while she was with roommates, who later alerted cops for a welfare check after they had not heard from her, police say.
Initially police described a person of interest in the case as a former boyfriend of Anderson who left the country shortly before the body was found.
Haley Anderson homicide case: See Gallery
Investigators later declared the former boyfriend, Orlando Tercero, a suspect in the death - claiming he used a four-hour head start on detectives Friday in order to flee to Nicaragua, ABC News reports.
Anderson's body was found at the home where Tercero lived, police say
"We were a few hours behind him," Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski told the outlet. "Then we put two and two together quickly."
Tercero, 22, has family in Nicaragua but it is unclear if he has citizenship with the country, police say. If he has dual citizenship, according to Zikuski, there's a chance the country may not extradite him.
Tercero is from Miami and was also a nursing student at the school.
Officials say the suspect had been romantically involved with Anderson last fall. The police chief cited an incident last September where Anderson filed a police report over damage to her property and blamed Tercero for the incident. Anderson was in a relationship with Tercero at the time, Zikuski says.
Anderson decided not to press charges after Tercero agreed to pay for the damage, which involved car tires, the outlet reports.
According to Anderson's close friend and roommate, Tercero never got over "his obsession" with Anderson.
"We knew he had some fixation on her for sure," Mishela Topalli told TIME. "Even his friends would say so."
Topalli claims Anderson and Tercero never actually "dated" but would study together and often hang out.
"They hooked up in the past, but to her, it was pretty platonic and she didn't want to have anything seriously," Topalli said. "That was actually a while ago, but he never got over his obsession of her."
The roommate says Anderson and friends were playing board games and drinking wine the night before her death and that the roommates became concerned when Anderson stopped responding on the phone. That led them to call law enforcement for a welfare check.
Friends say Anderson had just secured a job as a nurse that would've started after she graduated this spring, TIME reports.
Prosecutors will seek a grand jury indictment against Tercero and once that happens a warrant for his arrest will be filed and the U.S. State Department can make the extradition request with Nicaragua, Press Connects reports.
"When a life is taken, we will use all available legal procedures and resources to bring justice to the victim, her family, the defendant and our community," Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell said in a statement.