Angelo Mantych is accused of murdering Marina Placensia
The husband of a woman who died on an Amtrak train to Colorado has been charged with murder seven years after her death, according to the Denver District’s Attorney’s office.
Angelo Mantych, 41, was arrested on Monday and charged with first degree murder in connection with the death of his wife, 28-year-old Marina Placensia, who was on an Amtrak train with him and their four children on their way from Milwaukee to Denver on Aug. 30, 2016, the D.A.’s office said in a statement.
On Sept. 1, before the train arrived in Denver, Placensia was “unresponsive” on the train. After Mantych notified authorities, a doctor declared her dead, according to an arrest affidavit reviewed by PEOPLE.
The affidavit said Mantych was throwing up and crying on the platform when officers arrived.
He told officers that the family was moving to Denver from their home Racine, Wisc., and had taken a break from the trip in Chicago, where they roamed around and ate.
Officers soon observed a “large number” of injuries and bruises on Placensia, including on her face, mouth, the inside of her mouth, her abdomen and her legs, the affidavit states, adding that an autopsy report ultimately identified 35 injuries on Placensia’s person. While these injuries didn't present as an “obvious” cause of death, they indicated some kind of assault or struggle, according to the affidavit.
But when asked, Mantych said Placensia was injured during their move.
After her death, Placensia’s friends and family maintained that Mantych should be a suspect, alleging that he'd abused her for a long period of time, the affidavit states.
During a subsequent investigation, people who were familiar with the couple — including friends and neighbors — alleged to authorities that Mantych had a repeated history of abusing his partner, including calling her names, punching her and, during their move, forcing her to move the furniture without any help while he watched.
In September 2023, Dr. Bill Smock, an expert in strangulation and suffocation, issued a report saying he believed Placensia died of suffocation, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Mantych also repeatedly hindered efforts by Placensia to leave the allegedly abusive situation.
One neighbor who claimed she saw Placensia with bruises repeatedly told police that after Mantych found text messages from her advising Placensia to leave, Mantych showed up to the neighbor's door and threatened to kill her, according to the affidavit. A judge denied the neighbor’s request for a protective order against Mantych, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, on another occasion, when Placensia’s family members tried to come up with a plan for her leave, Mantych allegedly forced her to put the phone on speaker so he could overhear what people were saying.
Mantych is currently being held at the Downtown Detention Center without bond, according to jail records.
It wasn’t immediately clear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney. Court records show he is scheduled for a court appearance on Nov. 16.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
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