15 years after a Corona woman went missing, her killer is charged with manslaughter

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The family of a Corona woman who has been missing since 2002 will finally get closure, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Wanda Romero, 25, went missing in November 2003. She was last seen at a Queens restaurant with 47-year-old Rafael Rodriguez, her ex-boyfriend who she had an order of protection against. Around 2:30 a.m., Rodriguez was overheard telling Romero that he would “cut her into pieces.” He had a pending assault case filed by Romero at the time.

As the police investigation into Romero’s disappearance started, Rodriguez fled to the Dominican Republic. He was indicted in 2003 and extradited from Panama in 2015. This summer, after a nearly three-week long trial, a jury found him guilty of first-degree manslaughter, aggravated criminal contempt, first-degree criminal contempt, tampering with physical evidence and third-degree bail jumping. He was ordered to return to court on Aug. 21 for sentencing.

Romero, who had a young daughter at the time of her disappearance, was never found.

“Justice eluded the family of the victim for nearly 15 years, but this week a jury convicted the estranged boyfriend of the 25-year-old woman of killing her,” Brown said. “It is my hope that this verdict will give the family some closure. The defendant — who tried to escape justice by fleeing to his native Dominican Republic — now faces a lengthy term of incarceration.”

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