Just before 4 pm on April 28, 2020, Steven Kraft did his usual Tuesday afternoon thing. He left his job at the deli in Marlboro, NY and headed across the Hudson River to Beacon, where he picked up his two high school-aged children from his ex-wife's house. He caught up with them at a fast food dinner before returning them to their mother's house around 7pm
His disappearance remained a mystery for more than three years. But on Thursday, Mr. Kraft, Jamie Orsini, and her husband, Nicholas Orsini, were arrested and charged with one count of carjacking resulting in death and one count of conspiracy each.
The Orsini family is accused of concocting and carrying out an elaborate scheme to kill Mr. Kraft, 34, and dismembered and burned his body, according to a criminal complaint filed in Federal District Court in White Plains, NY
The plan involves using several incendiary phones, stealing and disposing of Mr. Kraft and Orsinis made repeated long trips in an attempt to deodorize authorities, the complaint said. Mr. Kraft has not been found, according to investigators.
If found guilty, the couple could face life in prison or the death penalty.
“The Orsin family denied the Kraft family – including Kraft's children with Jamie – the dignity of a proper burial,” said Damian Williams, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a statement.
Dean Kraft, father of Mr. Kraft, said in an interview on Friday that his family had been waiting for this moment for three years, but they were still looking for answers.
“Steven would never be the type to leave his daughter, so we always assumed the worst, that something bad happened to him,” said Elder Mr. Kraft, who lives in Illinois. He added that after Orsinis' arrest, “some people said, ‘Oh great, now you can get shut down.' That may be true for some, but I still have a lost son somewhere. Where is he? Where is his body at? What did they do with him?”
In the days leading up to Mr. Kraft, Orsinis began preparing to kill him and cover their tracks, according to the complaint.
They made several trips to Walmart and Home Depot in Fishkill, NY, where they purchased an incendiary phone, a 10-foot by 100-foot tarp, duct tape, and a Tyvek suit and boots. They paid for everything in cash, the complaint said.
The pair also make a “sprint” of the circuitous route they intend to take to dispose of Mr. Brown's car. Kraft: driving around the Beacon, over bridges across the Hudson River, and on to Newburgh, investigators said.
By the time Mr. Kraft arrived at Orsinis' house in Beacon on April 28, the complaint said Orsinis had been training and ready to follow through on their plans.
They activate the burner phone and follow Mr. Kraft all night while he spends time with the kids. At some point after he brought them to Orsinis' home, according to authorities, the pair killed him.
Just before 9pm, Mr Orsini, 35, was driving Mr Kraft's car along the same route he had trained days earlier and left it on a street corner near the Newburgh waterfront. He then walked about a mile to the gas station, where he used the $100 bill to buy an energy drink and hailed a taxi back to the Beacon from a burner phone.
Over the next few days, the complaint says, Orsinis purchased more incendiary phones, conducted suspicious Google searches — including “flame-resistant galvanized steel” — and purchased materials that could be used for cutting and burning bodies, including a 31-gallon galvanized steel trash can. , angle grinder, ax and 16 bundles of firewood.
On several occasions, according to the complaint, the couple left their personal phones at home and drove more than 120 miles each way to visit Mr. Orsini's family in Amsterdam, NY, north of Albany. On May 2, Mr Orsini texted his mother to ask if she had told anyone he was visiting her upstate.
Ms Orsini, 36, also texted her ex-husband's phone in the days following his disappearance to ask about their children's report cards – an odd move, the complaint said, since “they don't normally text about their children's academics.” ”
He also called the police to ask where Mr. kraft.
On May 4, the police found Mr.'s Toyota Camry. Kraft was parked, with a ticket, in the same area where authorities believe Orsinis left him, according to the complaint. The car was impounded that day, the complaint said. On May 7, according to authorities, the couple returned to Newburgh to inspect the vehicle.
During the investigation, New York State Police, the local police department, and the FBI reviewed surveillance footage, store receipts, cell phone GPS data, call and text records, Google search data, evidence found at Orsinis' home, and more.
“We worked tirelessly for three years to find some kind of closure and justice for Steven Kraft and his family,” said Joseph Merla, a New York State Police investigator.
when Mr. Kraft and Ms. Orsini is divorced, their relationship is strained and they communicate only through the courts, says Mr. kraft. In recent years, he said, the two seemed to get along pretty well. Ms. Orsini kept in touch with Mr. Older Kraft so he can maintain contact with his grandson.
“He said I could write it, and I did,” said Mr. kraft. “Then after Steven went missing – about three months – all communication just stopped.”
Mr Merla said the couple “definitely have their fair share in family court matters.”
A 2016 appeals court decision regarding custody of their two children detailed years of efforts by Ms. Orsini for full custody and a similar fight by Mr. Kraft to be granted an unsupervised visit. The judge in that case rejected both requests.
At the time Mr. Kraft disappeared, he had custody of his children at the weekend and Tuesday from 4pm to 7pm, according to the complaint.
The Orsini family moved from the Beacon to Amsterdam a few months after Mr. Mr. Kraft said. Merla. Mr Orsini was currently working in a bar, and Mrs Orsini was the mother of his four children, including two with Mr Orsini.
Child protective services were notified of Orsinis' arrest and had opened an investigation into the family, Merla said.
father Kraft said he doesn't know where his grandchildren are now, but he said “they still have a grandfather, and they also have a family who loves them very much, even though they've never met them.”
Kirsten Noyes research contributions.