In October 2002, 21-year-old Wendy Trapaga was found dead in Key West, Florida just four days after marrying Michel Escoto, a 30-year-old man she had met in beauty school. Her body was found near a trash bin in the North Miami-Dade area. Could her whirlwind wedding to Michel be connected to her slaying?
Right before the marriage, Michel took out a million-dollar life insurance policy on Wendy. Behind her back he was continuing to see his ex-girlfriend Yolanda Cerrillo, who he promised he would always come back to.
Michel didn’t get the money from the insurance policy right away. In 2005, he filed a lawsuit to try to collect the money and told a story about Wendy’s death that differed from the one he told police.
He was tried in 2014 and his girlfriend Yolanda Cerrillo testified against him in court. She said she helped Michel plan Wendy’s murder. He had run off to live with Wendy, leaving Yolanda devastated. When she confronted Michel about her heartbreak in a parking lot, he let her know that he was planning to murder Wendy for insurance money.
He had originally planned to drug Wendy and drown her in the jacuzzi at their motel during their honeymoon. Things didn’t go as planned, so he drover her to Yolanda’s house while she was semi-conscious. Yolanda then went with Michel to the warehouse district of Miami, where Michel bludgeoned Yolanda with a tire iron.
He was convicted of first-degree murder in April of 2014 and sentenced to life in prison. Yolanda traded her testimony for immunity, so she received no prison time for her role in Wendy’s tragic death.
Image via Dateline