Defendant and Victim Were Out Looking at Christmas Decorations in Neighborhood Before Alleged Murder.
Riverhead, NY - Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced the indictment of a man for murdering his grandmother in December of 2017.
Kevin Sanchez, 23, of Brentwood, is charged with Murder in the Second Degree, an A felony.
“This is a shocking and tragic case, but it is also unfortunately one of many instances of family violence that occur each year around the holiday season,” District Attorney Sini said. “This indictment was the result of the dedication and intensive investigative efforts of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Homicide Squad and my office, and we will prosecute the defendant to the fullest extent of the law to hold him accountable for this unthinkable murder.”
Shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2017, Sanchez and his grandmother, Paula Chavez Quintanilla, 65, who was visiting from El Salvador, left their family’s home in Brentwood in a white Jeep SUV to look at Christmas lights and decorations on houses in the neighborhood.
Sanchez returned home shortly after midnight on Dec. 23, 2017, without Quintanilla and claimed to family members that she was still in the car. When it was discovered that Quintanilla was not in the car, the family contacted police and conducted a search for her throughout the night and into the next morning.
Quintanilla’s body was discovered at approximately 9 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2017, by a woman in the rear parking lot of the office building located at 150 Motor Parkway in Hauppauge. She appeared to be the victim of a stabbing.
According to the Suffolk County Office of the Medical Examiner, Quintanilla had sustained approximately 60 sharp force injuries.
An investigation into the alleged murder revealed evidence linking Sanchez to the crime scene, including DNA evidence from a gray sweatshirt recovered at the scene that Sanchez was wearing when he and Quintanilla were last seen together.
When interviewed by detectives, Sanchez allegedly gave conflicting accounts of his and his grandmother’s whereabouts on the night of the murder that were inconsistent with other evidence, including video surveillance of locations in which he claimed to have been.
Sanchez was arraigned on the indictment today by Suffolk County Court Judge Philip Goglas and he was remanded without bail.
If convicted of the top count, Sanchez faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Sanchez is due back in court on April 17.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Kearon, of the Homicide Bureau.
A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.