A man who allegedly confessed to killing his missing wife has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge.
Joseph Ferlazzo, 41, entered his plea in Vermont Superior Court on Wednesday, one day after a body believed to belong to his wife Emily Ferlazzo, 22, was recovered.
State police on Tuesday said Mr Ferlazzo had admitted to killing his wife inside the camper van where they lived. He told investigators that he shot Ms Ferlazzo and then waited 12 to 15 hours to dismember her with a handsaw before placing the body parts in trash bags, according to a police affidavit.
Ms Ferlazzo, of Northfield, New Hampshire, was reported missing by her family on Monday night. She was last seen at an Airbnb in Bolton, Vermont, on Saturday afternoon.
The family informed investigators that Mr Ferlazzo told them the couple had got into a fight on Saturday afternoon, after which she left the van and walked on Route 2. He also claimed that he went to a nearby store but did not find Emily when he returned to pick her up.
Investigators recovered the camper at a friend’s house in St Albans on Tuesday and found what they believe to be Ms Ferlazzo’s remains spread across eight trash bags inside the vehicle’s bathroom. Mr Ferlazzo was later located at a convenience store nearby.
At Wednesday’s hearing a judge ordered Mr Ferlazzo be held without bail. He faces a life sentence in prison if convicted.
Ms Ferlazzo’s stepmother Prudy Schwarz spoke out on Tuesday night and revealed the family had reservations when they met him for the first and only time.
“Something didn’t click the first time we met him,” Ms Schwarz told WFFF.
Ms Schwarz described Ms Ferlazzo as a joyful person who loved to sing. “She was the girl that ran around in polka dot pants and a striped shirt, dancing,” Ms Schwarz said. “She was always very happy, she absolutely loved to sing, she was a good singer.”
An autopsy is scheduled to confirm the identity of the remains found in the camper, as well as the cause and manner of death.
The case comes amid a nationwide frenzy over the disappearance and death of vlogger Gabby Petito, which prompted calls for greater coverage of other missing person cases across the US.