Friends of a missing New York college student used a phone app to find her body and help bring her killer to justice thousand of miles away.
CBS News’ “48 Hours” on Saturday night will profile the case of Haley Anderson, a nursing student at Binghamton University who was murdered two years ago.
On March 8, 2018, Anderson and her roommates had stayed up late drinking and playing board games. They went to bed around 4 a.m., and by the time everyone awoke, Anderson was gone.
Initially, Anderson’s friends were not concerned about her absence.
“When I first didn’t hear from her, I didn’t think, ‘Oh, something terrible has happened,'” friend Josie Artin told CBS News.
Artin said Anderson was an independent person who had many friends and dated often.
But when Anderson failed to show up for a gathering that evening, her friends grew concerned. Anderson had never missed a planned get-together. She also wasn’t responding to phone calls and had not been on social media.
One of Anderson’s friends then used the iPhone app “Find My Friends,” which indicated that Anderson’s phone was at the apartment of Orlando Tercero, another nursing student.
Anderson and Tercero had met at a party and were friends and had a physical relationship, although their dynamic had been tense at times, Tercero’s roommate said.
“Sometimes they were bickering . . . and other times they would laugh hysterically . . . and other times they kept their distances and wouldn’t see each other for a little bit,” Jesse Bua told CBS News.
Tercero would become jealous if Anderson spent time with anyone else, according to Artin; he would drive past her house and stop by uninvited.
Upon learning that Anderson’s phone was at Tercero’s apartment, Artin and another woman, Mishela Topalli, went to the residence. They knocked on the door but no one answered, so they climbed through a window.
Police had already been at the apartment after Tercero’s sister asked for a welfare check on her brother, who had left her a disturbing voice mail. Officers knocked on the door but also didn’t get an answer, so they left.
But her friends went inside. There, the women found Anderson’s lifeless body on Tercero’s bed.
“There was no blood. The way she was lying, I wasn’t sure if that’s where she died or he put her there,” Artin told the New York Post. “It was very formal — she was on her back laying on the bed and she had a blanket halfway up her body. And she just had her arms at her side.
Artin added: “There was a handprint bruise on her arm. When I saw that, that’s when I knew for [sure] that Orlando had done this to her.”
Investigators soon located security camera footage showing Tercero entering the house with Anderson. Authorities also determined that Tercero had boarded a plane at JFK International Airport for Nicaragua.
Tercero was eventually arrested in Nicaragua and prosecuted there for Anderson’s murder; he was convicted in November and sentenced to 30 years in prison, according to the Press & Sun-Bulletin.
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