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One Year Later, Colley Case Still Unsolved Murder Mystery In North Salem

Police remained tight-lipped about their investigation into the murder of North Salem socialite Lois Colley, who was murdered a year ago on Wednesday, Nov. 9.,
Police remained tight-lipped about their investigation into the murder of North Salem socialite Lois Colley, who was murdered a year ago on Wednesday, Nov. 9., Photo Credit: New York Social Diary
Angel Parra Penafiel (second from left) is escorted into North Salem's local court this past January. He is accused, along with a co-defendant, of stealing $30,000 worth of hay from Lois Colley's estate.
Angel Parra Penafiel (second from left) is escorted into North Salem's local court this past January. He is accused, along with a co-defendant, of stealing $30,000 worth of hay from Lois Colley's estate. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A large procession leaves St. James Episcopal Church in North Salem following the funeral of Lois Colley. The procession is from the church to a nearby cemetery.
A large procession leaves St. James Episcopal Church in North Salem following the funeral of Lois Colley. The procession is from the church to a nearby cemetery. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
State police patrol Windswept Farm, the 300-acre property in North Salem where Lois Colley was murdered the day after the homicide last year.
State police patrol Windswept Farm, the 300-acre property in North Salem where Lois Colley was murdered the day after the homicide last year. Photo Credit: Daily Voice

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- As the one-year anniversary of the death of North Salem socialite Lois Colley approaches next Wednesday, Nov. 9, police remained tight lipped about the case, even though residents continue to discuss the matter and wonder who the killer may be as a published report surfaced that the "prime suspect" may be out of the country.

"It's an ongoing investigation," said New York State Police Spokeswoman Melissa McMorris. "We do not report on ongoing cases."

Much speculation surrounds the homicide of the wife of multi-millionaire Eugene Colley. The 83-year-old Lois Colley was bludgeoned to death late in the afternoon, with the blunt-force trauma believed to have come from a missing fire extinguisher at the couple's 300-acre Windswept Farm estate.

Some residents say local police believe the killer was an employee of Colley and her husband, Eugene. Others say the suspect fled the country and law enforcement are trying to track them down, reported lohud.com.

Phil Falkson, a 15-year town resident, told lohud.com he received information from a police officer that the prime suspect is out of the country, said lohud.com.

But North Salem Police Sgt. Saul Ruveolo said the police department does not provide information regarding the case to anyone other than the state police.

"All information connected with the case would need to come from the state police who are the handling the investigation," he added.

Colley was found lying on the laundry room floor of her home by a caretaker at approximately 5 p.m. on Monday,  Nov. 9, 2015. The caretaker called 911 to report the matter.

There were no signs of forced entry into Colley's residence, and nothing was out of order -- except for Colley's body.

State police have looked at several employees, including two grounds workers who later pleaded guilty to stealing $30,000 worth of hay from the family's Windswept Farm.

Both 33-year-old men -- Angel H. Parra Penafiel and Hugo Ramirez-Morales -- lived on the farm where they were employed as laborers. They stole and then sold the hay over several years, police reported.

State police did not draw any link between the arrests and Colley's murder.

One person who is talking is Lily Teng, 58, a former housekeeper who attempted, unsuccessfully, to sue the Colleys for unpaid wages. She told lohud.com that police had not questioned her about the murder, even though she worked at the residence, including with the two men who were charged with stealing hay, said lohud.com.

Teng claimed she worked in sweatshop conditions and did everything from cleaning the house to babysitting the couple's grandchildren, without receiving the proper amount of pay, said lohud.com.

But those facts, along with talk and speculation don't solve a murder case, and as the one-year anniversary approaches, that's all residents and former employees have.

Click here to read the lohud.com story.

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