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Crime News Domestic Violence

Man Charged with Murder 7 Years After Telling Authorities his Bruised Girlfriend Never Woke from Train Nap

Marina Placensia's body was covered in bruises when she was found unresponsive on a train, and her boyfriend Angelo Mantych blamed the injuries on a door hitting her.

By Gina Salamone
A personal photo of Marina Placensia

A man has been arrested for his girlfriend's alleged murder seven years after she was found bruised and unresponsive on a train and he'd told authorities that he was simply unable to wake her before they arrived at their destination. 

Angelo Mantych, 41, was charged with first-degree murder for the death of 28-year-old Marina Placensia, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced Tuesday.

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On August 31, 2016, "Placensia, her four children and Mantych boarded an Amtrak train in Wisconsin, where they lived, and headed for Denver," the Denver DA's office stated. "When the train arrived at Denver’s Union Station on September 1, Placensia was dead. After several years of investigation, prosecutors have now charged Mantych with causing Placensia’s death on the train."

Placensia was the mother of four young kids, and Mantych was the father of three of them.

What happened to Marina Placensia on the Amtrak train? 

Police said that Placensia was found unresponsive on the train before arriving in Denver, according to an affidavit. Resuscitation attempts by paramedics were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead on September 1, 2016 at 7:54 a.m. by a Denver Health Medical Center doctor. Authorities observed her boyfriend, Mantych, on the train platform and stated he "appeared to be upset, crying and vomited several times," the affidavit reads.

A police handout of Angelo Mantych

What did Angelo Mantych say about his girlfriend Marina Placensia's train death? 

Questioned at the scene, Mantych told authorities that the family lived in Racine, Wisconsin, and were moving back to Denver. He added that they had a layover in Chicago, where they got off the train and bought a sandwich that the couple later shared on the train. Mantych said that he tried to wake Placensia up about 20 minutes before they were set to arrive in Denver, but she's a "heavy sleeper" and wouldn't wake up. He claimed he tried again 10 minutes before their destination time, but again got no response, and that he then asked for help when he realized something was wrong. 

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Was Marina Placensia's body found with bruises on it? 

Authorities who viewed Placensia's body on the train "observed numerous bruises on the body that appeared consistent with an assault or struggle," the affidavit stated. Investigator Howard Daniels with the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner "confirmed there were a large number [of] bruises observed on the body but none that he felt would be an obvious cause of death," according to the affidavit. 

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What did Angelo Mantych say about the bruises found on Marina Placensia's body?

When authorities questioned Mantych in the break room at Denver's Union Station about the bruises found on his girlfriend's body, he told them that she was "banged up from moving." He added they'd been moving furniture down stairs and a screen door closed and hit Placensia on the shoulder. In a follow-up interview the next day, he told authorities that a door that hit her also caused injuries to her face, and that their 2-year-old daughter had scratched Placensia's face about a week before she died. 

Marina Placensia's family told authorities about Angelo Mantych's alleged abuse

Placensia's family were also at the station because they had planned to greet her upon the family arriving in Denver. Her brother told authorities that they should "look into Angelo because he is abusive," according to the affidavit. 

Someone else, whose name is blocked out in the affidavit, told authorities that a neighbor of the family in Racine told family members that Mantych had beat Placensia the day before they boarded the train. The neighbor added that the couple fought all the time and that Mantych had also beat his girlfriend two months before their move. 

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A neighbor who lived across the street from the couple told authorities on September 7, 2016 that Mantych was physically and mentally abusive to his girlfriend, and that he hit her daily, according to the affidavit. "She saw him slap Marina on the face, punch her on the side, grab and punch her arms, grab her neck, and pull her hair," the affidavit states. The neighbor also claimed to witness Mantych cursing her out and demanding she move the furniture faster. 

"He was throwing furniture off the balcony and was yelling at the children and telling them to move the furniture and that they weren't doing it right," the neighbor told authorities.

Placensia's two older boys had told foster parents that they were living with at some point that they did not want to go back with their father, according to the affidavit. 

An autopsy report released on October 18, 2016 for Placensia detailed that she had blunt impacts to her head, trunk and extremities, including "abrasion of the forehead;" bruises on her face, scalp, chest, arms, wrist, hand, abdomen, legs and more; rib fractures; hemorrhages and other issues. "The report notes she had multiple injuries though not sufficient to explain her death," the affidavit says. "Placensia had severe liver disease, also not sufficient to explain her death." The cause and manner of death were listed as undetermined at the time.

The DA's office conducted additional forensic interviews in March of this year, and held a meeting with a doctor in May, who said that "based on his review of the records and photographs he believes Marina Placensia died as the direct result of asphyxia and from suffocation and noted that injuries sustained by her are consistent with what he observes in suffocation," the affidavit states. The doctor added that he believes the woman's injuries were caused by assault, and stated that "the manner of death is homicide."

Mantych has not yet entered a plea in the case, a spokesperson for the Denver District Attorney's Office told Oxygen.com Thursday. His next court appearance is scheduled for November 16.

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