TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A horrific ending to the search for Noel Alkaramla who was last seen at the restaurant she worked at in Lansingburgh. Wednesday her body was found near the USS Slater according to police. Thursday night her family and friends are still trying to comprehend that she was found dead inside a suitcase in the water here.
“It’s hard. It’s really hard,” says Samantha Soto, a cousin of Alkaramla
Samantha Soto of Troy is at a loss for words and devastated to learn the cousin she grew up with 21-year-old Noel Alkaramla was found dead more than a month after she went missing. State police divers found her body Wednesday inside a suitcase submerged in the Hudson River. Soto shared photos and this is how she wants to remember Noel smiling and happy.
“Noel was a very good person you know. She was a warm hearted girl. She was outgoing and everybody loved her,” says Soto.
Another family member struggled to hold back tears; Amber Ferrandino tries to focus on Noel’s life.
Amber Ferrandino Family Member of Noel’s
“Horrible, she was friendly like she was bubbly. She was never upset. Every time I hung out with her she was fine. She was happy. Last time I was with her was right before she went missing and she was fine like she was happy. She couldn’t wait for Christmas,” says Ferrandino.
Soto says she’s deeply troubled by the condition she says Noel’s body was found in inside that suitcase, she says “it’s sickening. It’s sickening. It really is. I don’t even have words to explain how I feel about it. It’s just really sickening and I hope he gets what he deserves if he was involved in this. I really do.”
The man she is referring to be 39-year-old Johnny Oquendo, Noel’s stepfather who police say is a suspect in the homicide.
“I just want something to be done,” says Soto.
Oquendo was recently arrested on a parole violation and remains at the Rensselaer County jail. NYS records show he was released on parole in March 2014 and had previously served time for robbery and assault. He has not been charged in this case but again police say he is a suspect.