Patel faces a judge for wife's murder

February 12, 2008 4:16:21 PM PST
A Cary man charged with murdering his estranged wife was in court Tuesday.

Monday Cary Police arrested Harish Patel, 60, at his home on Woodway Bluff Circle. Patel has been charged with felony murder in the death of his wife Vanlanta Patel, 57. Her charred remains were found on January 16 just off I-85 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.

Officials say her remains were not positively identified until January 22.

Mrs. Patel's son reported her missing to the Cary Police Department on January 17 after she failed to board a flight to visit him in Canada. Police issued a news release about Mrs. Patel's disappearance, and on January 20 the Mecklenburg County, VA Sheriff's Office contacted the Cary Police Department about a possible connection between the two incidents after seeing the story on area media outlets.

"As sad as this case is, we are pleased to have been able to bring it to such a swift and certain conclusion, ," said Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore in a press release. "It's important for our citizens to know that this was not a random act of violence against someone in our community."

Patel is expected to face a judge for his first court appearance Tuesday. If convicted Patel could face life in prison or the death penalty.


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