Twenty-seven year old Derek Tudor confessed to killing his mother’s boyfriend, Frank Soucie, whose body investigators recovered from his Ridgewood backyard, a police source said.
Criminal charges indicate that Tudor intentionally suffocated Soucie, 60, sometime between Sunday, April 21 and Sunday, April 28 in or around the Putnam Avenue home, said District Attorney Richard Brown.
Soucie was thought to be missing until a neighbor reported Tudor acting suspiciously to the local precinct on Tuesday, April 30.
Police responded to the call and searched the area. They searched the building’s rooftop, where investigators allegedly found a knotted electrical cord and a bottle of ammonia. On the roof of a connected building, they found a large plastic bin and what appeared to be blood. Police also found visible drag marks leading to the back of the building, according to the district attorney.
In Soucie’s backyard, police found a fresh pile of dirt, the source said. Underneath, they found a male’s body wrapped in sheets, later determined to be Soucie. According to the medical examiner’s office, Soucie died as a result of homicidal asphyxiation.
Neighbors said Soucie lived with his girlfriend, Stephanie Verni, 54, and her son in the Ridgewood apartment. The couple often argued about her son, they said, and Soucie wanted him to move out.
On Tuesday morning, eight days after Soucie went missing, Tudor was seen wandering inside Soucie’s building. He walked into a third-floor apartment, where a tenant found him. Tudor seemed “panicked” and asked to use the fire escape to get into to Soucie’s second-floor apartment just below, said the tenant’s boyfriend, Raymond Velez.
“It was weird how this kid was acting,” Velez said.
Moments later, neighbors saw Tudor come out of the building with a large white laundry bag. He threw it into a garbage can, and Velez, who was outside, went to investigate. Velez said he opened the bag and found what appeared to be burnt clothes inside layers of black garbage bags. He said the clothes gave off a burning, chemical smell.
At 6:15 p.m. that same day, Tudor went with his biological father to the 102nd Precinct and turned himself in. According to the police source, he made statements incriminating himself, and was later charged with murder.
Tudor was arrested for forcible touching in 2010. He was also arrested for jumping a turnstile.
Neighbors in the tight-knit Ridgewood community are distraught somebody could do this to their longtime friend.
“He would never hurt a fly,” said Debbie Webster, who knew Soucie for more than 20 years. “When we found out he was missing, we knew something had happened. He didn’t deserve something like this.”
Tudor was arraigned on Thursday, May 2 on second-degree murder charges. He was ordered held without bail and will return to court on Wednesday, May 15. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison, according to the district attorney.