A New York pastor who allegedly ran over his estranged wife with her car and then chopped her repeatedly with a machete as her neighbors and grandchildren watched in horror was arrested and charged Tuesday with her murder.
The pastor, 63-year-old Victor Mateo who led Christian Congregation The Redemptor, Inc., in the Bronx was taken into custody in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, by the Pennsylvania State Police and U.S. Marshals Regional Task Force, ABC 7 reported. He was later extradited to the Bronx in New York City, where he was charged with murder, manslaughter, acting in a manner to injure a child, and criminal possession of a weapon.
Mateo’s estranged wife, Noelia, 58, was found unconscious with multiple lacerations to her body just after 7 a.m. on Oct. 3. Her husband was identified as the suspect who attacked her.
Witnesses to the attack told The New York Times and police that Noelia was getting into her car on Ellsworth Avenue in the Throggs Neck neighborhood of the Bronx when the pastor chased her down in a different car, hit her vehicle and then smashed into a parked white van.
When neighbors ran outside after the crash they watched in horror as Noelia was attacked.
Victor DiChristina, 78, said he saw the pastor’s late wife trapped under her car and the pastor trying to pull her out from under the vehicle. He then saw Mateo jump in her car and attack her with it.
“He went into the car and put it in gear and reversed,” DiChristina said. “He banged into the car behind him, and he ran over the person that was underneath.”
The police allege Mateo then climbed out of the car and slashed Noelia multiple times with a machete.
“I was screaming at him to distract him from beating on her,” DiChristina said. “And then after he took off with the car, I called 911 and I screamed at the operator, asking them, ‘Where the hell is that ambulance? Where’s the police?’”
Another neighbor, Dave Colon, said he ran out onto the street to find Noelia covered in blood. He said she had crawled from the street to a small patch of grass on the curb, while her grandson and granddaughter stood across the street in shock.
“It was a terrible sight,” he said.
Kathy Bellwood, whose husband owns the white van the pastor crashed into during the attack, said Noelia was crying or praying as she died.
“She was suffering because she was crying or praying in Spanish,” she said, noting how the pastor’s wife was bleeding profusely.
Noelia was pronounced dead at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
Christian Congregation The Redemptor, Inc., is described on Facebook as a “close-knit, Spirit-filled, bilingual congregation of worshipers of Jesus Christ located in The Bronx, NY. We welcome everyone to our church.”
A day after Noelia was killed the church noted: “With Great sadness we report the passing into eternal life of our beloved Noelia. We shall miss you sister, and hope that we shall see you again.”
During Mateo’s arraignment on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child in the Bronx on Tuesday, district attorney Darcel Clark promised to get justice for Noelia and her family.
“The defendant cruelly attacked his wife, from whom he had been estranged for approximately a month, in front her two young grandchildren,” said Clark, according to PIX11.
“The defendant allegedly struck her with his own vehicle, then ran her over with her car and stabbed her with a machete. We will pursue justice for the victim, as well as her family members who have been deeply traumatized by the terrible attack.”
Mateo is expected back in court in January 2020.