PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A person of interest in a Providence homicide has now been formally charged in the case.
Efrain Blanco, 31, was charged Thursday with the murder of Zenaida Pacheco and ordered held without bail.
Pacheco, 54, was found dead Oct. 27 inside her unit at the Charlesgate Apartments on Randall Street. Her death was later ruled a homicide.
City police released surveillance photos of Blanco Wednesday, which they said pressured him to turn himself in. He was initially wanted for questioning as a person of interest in the case, but is now charged as a suspect.
“Probably three or four hours after the [news] broadcast, we received a phone call which eventually led to the suspect turning himself in,” said Major David Lapatin of the Providence Police Department.
Investigators believe Blanco was the last person to leave Pacheco’s apartment. Police said he locked up and took the keys with him, and the apartment wasn’t opened again until Pacheco was found deceased.
Blanco’s connection to the victim is not yet known. He’s due back in court Nov. 18.
“They’re not related. If they knew each other, it was briefly,” said Lapatin. “This is not just someone random walking off the street, trying to hurt anybody he can. There were things that brought these two people together.”
Neighbors say Pacheco – known in the building as Zena – was friendly, talkative and a very loving mother. Her obituary says she was born in Brooklyn and leaves behind five children, twelve grandchildren and five siblings.
Pacheco was laid to rest on Monday.