A New Hampshire man confessed to killing his nearly two-decades-younger new bride following an argument in a small bus they had converted into a living and traveling space – in a case eerily similar to the high-profile murder of Gabby Petito.
Joseph Ferlazzo, 41, allegedly fatally shot and chopped up the body of Emily Ferlazzo, 22, in their camper when the couple traveled to a vacation rental in Bolton, Vermont to celebrate their wedding anniversary, investigators revealed in court on Wednesday.
Investigators found the couple’s camper containing human remains and other evidence that aligned with Joseph’s confession on Tuesday soon after the blonde-haired, blue-eyed newlywed was reported missing on Monday, police said.
According to social media, the couple were married last October after getting engaged the previous month.
Ferlazzo appeared in Chittenden County Superior Criminal Court in Burlington, Vermont, on Wednesday via video, where his attorney William Kidney entered a not guilty plea despite the confession, according to NBC 10 Boston.
Joseph Ferlazzo, 41, (pictured in his mugshot) has confessed to killing his wife Emily Ferlazzo, 22, while traveling in the small bus they converted into a living and traveling space, according to police
Police located the couple’s camper which contained human remains and other evidence that corroborated Joseph’s alleged confession in St. Albans
Joseph told police that he and his wife were arguing in their camper when she began punching and kicking him before laying on the bed. About five to ten minutes after the argument ended, Joseph grabbed a handgun and shot Emily twice in the head, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit reports that he then moved her body to the bathroom and later drove the bus to his friend’s house nearly 60 miles away in St. Albans. Between 12 to 15 hours after Joseph killed his wife, he used a handsaw to dismember her body inside the camper and put the body parts in trash bags, he reportedly told police.
Emily was reported missing by her family on Monday around 7:15 pm, police said.
Her family described her as a happy young woman who liked to sing but said that they thought her new husband was ‘evil’ and altered Emily’s behavior.
‘She was the girl that ran around in polka-dot pants and a striped shirt, dancing,’ her stepmother of 20 years, Prudy Schwarz told News 10. ‘She was always very happy, she absolutely loved to sing, she was a good singer.’
But Schwarz said ‘something didn’t click’ the first and only time she met Joseph.
‘I don’t know what it was about him, but we didn’t like him. I said it’s something with his eyes, he looks evil in his eyes.’
Their relationship had ‘a history of domestic violence’ according to police who said Emily had been seen ‘with scratches and bruises’ in the past.
The search for the young woman began and quickly turned tragic.
It was originally reported that Joseph told family members that he last saw Emily on Saturday around 1 pm when she exited their vehicle during an argument and began walking down U.S. Route 2. He then claimed he went to a nearby convenience store and could not find his wife along the road when he returned.
Police considered the case ‘suspicious’ from the beginning and reported ‘concerns’ for her welfare. The search soon developed into a multi-unit case.
A day after Emily was reported missing, Vermont police reported they were unable to find Joseph for questioning but discovered the couple’s camper in St. Albans on property belonging to one of Joseph’s friends.
Remington, the couple’s medium-sized mixed breed dog, was initially also reported missing but later found safe with a friend of Joseph’s.
Several hours after the police announced they had not located Joseph, an officer spotted him at a convenience store.
The officer asked Joseph to come to the state police barracks in St. Albans for questioning, where he confessed to killing his wife, police said.
‘He sat down and met with some detectives and provided them a great deal of information,’ Maj. Dan Trudeau, head of the Vermont State Police criminal division said. ‘The information he provided was that he had killed his wife Emily and said he’d done so in the town of Bolton during the early Saturday morning hours.’
After Joseph’s confession, officers ordered a search of the vehicle, which uncovered eight plastic bags filled with human remains, the weapon they believe was used to kill Emily, and the handsaw they believe was used to dismember her, police reported.
The confessed killer was then arrested on suspicion of murder, police reported.
The human remains will be brought to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington on Wednesday to confirm the identity, the cause, and manner of death, police reported.
Relatives told investigators that the couple had been living in their converted bus on Emily’s parents’ property in Northfield, New Hampshire.
Emily was a registered nurse in New Hampshire but her professional license expired soon after she married Joseph. Joseph was registered as a tattoo artist and body piercer but his professional license also expired soon after the marriage.
Police reported that they were initially unable to located Joseph for questioning. He was found at random in a Vermont convenience store when an officer recognized the wanted man
Emily was reported missing by her family on Monday after Joseph told them he had not seen his wife since they got into a fight Saturday afternoon
The human remains found in the couple’s camper will be sent to the medical examiner on Wednesday to be identified. Police reported they are believed to belong to Emily
The couple had traveled from their home in New Hampshire to Vermont in their camper
‘There’s still a lot of evidence to be recovered,’ Trudeau said as he noted that Joseph’s ‘admissions’ were essential to the case but ‘days and days of follow-up with this case’ will continue.
If convicted of the first-degree murder charge, Joseph faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Ferlazzo case comes as police continue to search for Brian Laundrie as he remains the sole person of interest in the death of his fiancé, Petito, with whom he was traveling the country in a small van.
Petito was found murdered in a Wyoming national park last month after Laundrie returned to their Florida home alone on September 1. He remains a fugitive after disappearing on September 17, his parents claim.