Joseph Pabon: Where is Eridania Rodriguez’s Killer Now?

A dedicated cleaning lady and mother, Eridania Rodriguez, worked at a skyscraper in Manhattan, but when she failed to return home on one of the July nights in 2009, her family and other loved ones got alarmed. When the authorities launched a search for her, they learned that she never even left the building where she was employed, limiting their search area but not easy at all. Including interviews with Eridania’s close ones and the investigators involved in the case, the episode titled ‘Vanished on Wall Street’ of Netflix’s ‘Homicide: New York’ delves deep into the murder of the 46-year-old woman, covering various intricate details.

Eridania Rodriguez Was Found Tied Up in an AC Vent of Her Workplace

Although born in San Francisco de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, Eridania Rodriguez moved to New York in the early 1980s and was raised there under the love and care of her parents and siblings, including sister Denise Figueroa and two brothers, Cesar Martinez and Victor Martinez, who was a bodybuilder awarded with the Arnold Classic award, an annual competition promoted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the time of her demise, she was married to Jeronimo Figueroa and was a mother to two daughters and a son, including Yaniris Figueroa. Described as a kind and peaceful person, Eridania was a devoted mother and cared a lot about her family and household.

Having worked at a skyscraper at 2 Rector Street, near the World Trade Center, for about a year as a cleaning lady, she admitted to her close ones that she had been feeling quite unsafe working at night in the building, so much so that she began losing weight and contemplated quitting. On July 7, 2009, Eridania entered the building around 5 pm to start her shift for the evening. A few hours later, around 10:30 pm, one of her co-workers informed Eridania’s daughter that her mother had not been seen by anyone in the building and was wondering if she had gone home before her shift got over. When she could not be found anywhere, her family rushed to her workplace to look for her. There, they found out that she had entered the building but had not left it at all.

So, the police were informed about the mysterious situation and were called for help. As the police scoured through different floors of the building, they found her abandoned cleaning cart on the eighth floor. Upon going through the surveillance footage, she was seen entering an elevator around 7 pm, after which there was no sign of her even in the security videotape. Having searched every nook and cranny of the building, the authorities took their search to a Pennsylvania landfill, where the building’s trash was emptied, for any clues regarding Eridania, but to no avail.

After four long days of intense search, Eridania’s lifeless body was found on the 12th floor in an air-conditioning vent. Her mouth, hands, and feet were tied with tape, after which the case was immediately ruled a homicide. The autopsy reports showed that the cause of the 46-year-old woman’s death was asphyxia, which was mainly due to her taped face. Soon, the investigators began collecting evidence in order to get to the bottom of the case and find out the identity of the perpetrator/s.

The Motive For Eridania Rodriguez’s Murder Remains a Mystery

As the authorities studied the security footage of the night of Eridania Rodriguez’s disappearance, they also came across the unusual movements of a maintenance worker named Joseph Pabon, who had been running a freight elevator in the building. Around the time when Eridania went missing, he was not captured on any of the security camera footage for a good 40 minutes or so. These circumstantial pieces of evidence led the police to question him about his whereabouts on the fateful day. While the 25-year-old handyman was being interrogated, the investigators noticed several scratch marks on his body, including his neck.

Being a person of interest, Joseph was kept under surveillance while the police awaited the results of DNA tests for the skin found under Eridania’s fingernails. A few days later, the DNA tests turned out to be a match for the handyman. On July 17, 2009, Joseph was arrested around 7:30 pm near his Staten Island home while he was with two people in a car. Reports suggest that Joseph tracked down Eridania and attacked her while she worked on the empty 12th floor of the 26-storey office building. After making her unconscious, he moved her body using a freight elevator and taped her feet, hands, and mouth before hiding her body in the air vent.

After covering his tracks and hiding Eridania’s body, Joseph reportedly told his manager that he was not feeling so well and was allowed to leave for home early. Previously, he had been known to have anger issues, which were displayed during his marriage with his first wife. He was arrested for his violent behavior against her and even gave violent threats to his current wife multiple times.

Joseph Pabon is Currently Serving His Sentence

In August 2009, Joseph Pabon pleaded not guilty to the murder charge of Eridania Rodriguez. Denying any part in her killing, the elevator operator claimed that the pieces of evidence against him were only circumstantial. As for the DNA, it could have been a result of his routine work at the building. The defense argued that the reason Joseph went home earlier than usual that day was due to a stomach virus, which made it not possible for him to work overtime at the building.

Joseph Pabon

At the end of his trial, in April 2012, Joseph was convicted of kidnapping and murdering the 46-year-old cleaning lady in July 2009, as the jurors believed that he was guilty of all the charges against him. A couple of months later, in June 2012, he received a 25 years to life sentence for the same charges, with his parole eligibility date set in 2034. In December 2018, he and his defense appealed the sentencing only to be denied by the court. Currently, Joseph Pabon is serving his sentence behind bars in Sing Sing Correctional Facility, formerly known as Ossining Correctional Facility, at 354 Hunter Street in Ossining.

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