Police initially said 21-year old Palak Patel died after her husband struck her several times with an object as they worked at this Dunkin Donuts in Hanover, but that didn’t begin to describe the violent nature of her death.
“It was a very graphic and brutal crime scene. A large knife was used in this,” said Lt. T.J. Smith of the Anne Arundel County Police Department.
Palak’s husband, Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, disappeared the night in question, and investigators say it took 27 minutes from the time of her death until a customer found the business open, but empty and flagged down an officer who discovered her body.
It took another hour to determine the victim’s husband was the only other person scheduled to work that night and to begin the search.
We’ve now learned a taxi driver inadvertently became his getaway driver.
“A witness came forward, which was a cab driver and advised that they took the suspect, Patel, to New Jersey soon after the murder unbeknownst to them at the time,” said Smith.
The FBI has now stepped in to launch a nationwide media campaign, complete with fliers and billboards along the Northeast Seaboard, to help track down the fugitive.
“On Monday afternoon, the FBI obtained a federal arrest warrant charging Mr. Patel with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution of the crime of murder. I’m here to announce today that the FBI has authorized a $20,000 reward payable to anyone who gives information leading to the arrest of Mr. Patel,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Steve Vogt.
The feds have also released surveillance photos of Patel captured inside a hotel in Newark, New Jersey and there’s also evidence he went to Penn Station.
They do not believe he was able to catch a flight back to his native country of India, and they warn that anyone who harbors him will face prosecution to the full extent of the law.
If you spot Patel or know his whereabouts, you can telephone federal agents at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
They say he should be considered armed and dangerous.