A West New York man is now facing murder charges after initially being accused of aggravated assault and sexual assault.
The upgrade in charges came after the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the female victim was allegedly strangled.
According to Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, a Hudson County Grand Jury returned an indictment of Edwin Velasco-Salazar on Jan. 29. He is charged on four counts related to the Nov. 1, 2019 death and alleged sexual assault of Irma Contreras Flores in West New York.
Prosecutor Suarez said the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be compression of the neck and the manner of death to be homicide.
The indictment charges Velasco-Salazar with first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, second-degree sexual assault, and endangering an injured victim.
On Nov. 1, 2019, members of the West New York Police Department responded to 214 63rd Street in West New York on reports of an unconscious woman. Upon arrival at approximately 3:40 a.m, West New York Police Officers discovered an unresponsive female in the outside hallway area at that location.
The female at the scene was identified as Irma Contreras Flores, a 32-year old resident of West New York. She was transported by Emergency Medical Services to Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen. However, Flores succumbed to her injures and was pronounced dead at approximately 4:20 a.m.
On Monday, November 4, 2019, following the preliminary investigation, members of the Prosecutor’s Office arrested Velasco-Salazar.
He was initially charged with aggravated assault, sexual assault, and endangering an Injured Victim.
Velasco-Salazar was transported to the Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearny. According to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, he has been in custody since his arrest. Velasco-Salazar was ordered detained on Nov. 13, 2019.
Prosecutor Suarez credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit with the investigation and the West New York Police Department for assisting with the investigation.
Velasco-Salazar is expected to be arraigned on the indictment at a date to be determined in February. The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The first homicide in West New York since 2018
According to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the last homicide in West New York was on Dec. 23, 2018.
A 19-year-old man from Union City was shot in the neck near 61st Street and Park Avenue. According to the HCPO, Stephen Flores was identified as the victim. Flores was rushed to Jersey City Medical Center for treatment. However, he succumbed to his injuries and died at the hospital.
On Jan. 4, 2019, an 18-year old West New York man was arrested and charged with the murder of Stephen Flores.
The accused man was 17 at the time of the murder, according the HCPO. He was charged as a juvenile, and his identity was not released
The Prosecutor’s Office said the unnamed man was charged with murder, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a firearm, and aggravated assault.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com