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Vanlata Patel - burnt to death

NRI Virginia woman, Vanlata Patel burnt to death
Her husband is not a suspect but is under police watch

Cary, Virginia
January 24, 2008

Satinder Sharma

NRI Vanlata Patel, 57, of Woodway Bluff Circle in Cary, was last seen at about 9 a.m Wednesday, Jan.16. The South Hill Fire Department discovered burned body wrapped in a comforter on Interstate 85 near the North Carolina border after extinguishing a brush fire in the area. Virginia medical examiners confirmed Tuesday that the remains belong to Vanlata Patel.

Patel's son told the police that she was supposed to board a flight to Canada on Thursday, but she never made it to the airport to visit her secomd son.

Her husband Harish Patel said:

  • When I learned that she was really missing, I was shocked. I was really shocked
  • I am a mess. I am a big mess. I just do not understand what to do and how to deal with the situation
  • I have been separated from my wife for a while and was devastated to hear she had disappeared.
  • I still loves my wife and I'm going thru a really rough time now. I don't know what to think now
  • I have nothing to hide and sheriff's investigators in Virginia
  • The police check my apartment three times Tuesday and followed me. First time they told me I am not a suspect but now from their behavior, it looks like I am the suspect. That is the disturbing thing

The sheriff's investigators in Virginia says:

  • Harish Patel has been cooperative.
  • The investigators are trying to find out how Harish Patel and his disabled wife managed to have more than $400,000 tucked away in Swiss bank accounts, when both were unemployed.
  • We found that before moving to their Northwest Cary apartment over a year ago, the Patels moved frequently, particularly in the state of Pennsylvania.
  • The Patels were married in 1999 until 2005, the couple lived in York, DuBois and Clearfield, Pennsylvania.
  • As of address 1128 Woodway Bluff Circle, they separated Sept. 14.

Vanlata Patel:

Police Capt. Dave Wulff said she arrived in Cary on Jan. 10 or 11 to visit friends at 112 Singer Way and was scheduled to fly back to Canada Jan. 16 on an afternoon Northwest Airlines flight. She had been living with her son, Ashesh Patel, in Alberta, Canada.

On Nov. 5, Morrisville lawyer Corrie Seagroves filed a complaint on behalf of Vanlata Patel in Wake County District Court, seeking a larger share of the couple's financial assets, including money deposited with Millennium Bank, United Trust of Switzerland. Vanlata Patel had $100,000 before they were married. She had asked a court to bar her husband from withdrawing money from the bank accounts.

Harish Patel

Harish Patel's attorney, Shelley Blake of Cary in a counterclaim contended that the property the couple obtained while married should be equally divided under state law. He also denied that the couple had joint accounts in banks other than Millennium Bank, United Trust of Switzerland.

Harish Patel also stated in the counterclaim that his wife had refused to communicate with him since leaving their home and that he has been unable to support himself since the courts froze their accounts.----------------

The court placed an injunction on the accounts when Patels earn about $2,400 a month from interest on the accounts. Both had no access to the money since Oct. 7. Her complaint also contended that the couple had joint accounts worth more than $335,000 with other banks that were listed in Harish Patel's name.





Vanlata Patel was reported missing to Cary police on Jan. 18, 2008