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Suspect extradited in girlfriend’s gruesome murder

Leon Carlos Pineda
NYPD Photo
By Sadef Ali Kully

A man who fled to Florida following the gruesome death of his girlfriend, a young Jamaica woman, was charged Dec. 10 with her murder, according to police officials and the Queens district attorney.

In October, police found 28-year-old Miriam Velez-Samayoa dead with burns all across her body in a bathtub in her apartment on 90th Avenue in downtown Jamaica, according to police officials.

Leon Carlos Pineda, 27, also known as Carlos Alvarado, was arraigned and charged with arson, according to the Queens DA’s office.

Video surveillance from the apartment building showed Pineda leaving the building and coming back with an object that appeared to be a gasoline container, the criminal complaint filed by the DA said.

In the video footage, Pineda is shown leaving the apartment building again moments before the 911 call was made to the police, the complaint said.

In the court document, witnesses and neighbors confirmed they had seen Pineda in and around the apartment before the time of the fire.

The fire marshal reported that the FDNY investigation revealed an accelerant was used to set the fire and the point of origin of the fire was at the bathtub where the victim was found.

In addition to the burn marks, the city’s medical examiner reported Velez-Samayoa had also sustained injuries to her neck andarms . The official cause of death is still pending, according to the criminal complaint.

While the NYPD began the investigation, Pineda fled to Florida, police said.

The NYPD said Miami-Dade County police officials and NYPD detectives found Pineda in Miami Oct. 20 without any incident. Police said Pineda took a Greyhound bus from New York to Miami-Dade County soon after the murder of his girlfriend.

According to police officials, NYPD detectives brought Pineda back to New York Dec. 9 after waiting for his extradition to be cleared by Florida state officials.

Police said the investigation into the murder of Velez-Samayoa was still ongoing.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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