Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Andrew Kissel

Suicide-by-Murder

Police at Kissel Mansion
Police at Kissel Mansion

The police have explored the possibility that Kissel arranged his own death so that his children would be provided for.  Like his brother, Andrew had a sizeable insurance policy, and in the event of his death, his daughters stood to collect $15 million.   But the policy would be invalidated if he committed suicide, so his death would have to appear to have been a murder.  Following the suicide-by-murder theory, the police questioned a man named Carlos Trujillo, a Colombian immigrant who worked for Kissel.

For nearly seven years, Trujillo had been Kissel's loyal man Friday, acting as chauffeur, babysitter, and housekeeper for the family.  The two men had developed a close friendship, and Trujillo admitted that he had gone to the house the weekend that Kissel was murdered out of concern for his friend.  Is it possible that Kissel had asked Trujillo to kill him, and Trujillo had carried out the request?

Trujillo willingly agreed to give the police his fingerprints and DNA samples.  He also let them search his home and took a lie detector test without the advice of counsel.  But when they questioned him a second time "in an aggressive manner," as the New York Times reported, Trujillo decided that he needed a lawyer.

Trujillo's attorney, Lindy Urso, professes his client's innocence and suggests that Andrew Kissel was about to become "an informant for the federal government," which, according to the Times, would have made him the target of "dozens of people."

Is it possible that Andrew Kissel was killed because someone feared that he was about to cooperate with the government and offer up incriminating testimony against that person in exchange for leniency in his sentencing?  Exactly who that person might be remains uncertain, and law enforcement has not floated that theory to the public.

The police obtained a warrant to search a storage locker in Bridgeport, Connecticut, rented by Trujillo.  Among the specific items they were looking for were uncashed checks made out to Trujillo by Betteridge Jewelers in Greenwich.  Trujillo had sold jewelry for Andrew Kissel at that store in the past, and the police are exploring the possibility that Kissel had paid for his murder-suicide with jewelry, which Trujillo then sold.

But if Kissel had arranged his own death, would he have really wanted such a painful, bloody end for himself?  Wouldn't a quick gunshot to the head have been a preferable method? 

"I think the suicide-by-murder theory is absurd," Lindy Urso told The Advocate, "particularly when you consider the manner in which he was killed."

The police continue to investigate Trujillo.  But if he didn't kill Andrew Kissel, and Hayley Kissel didn't do it, as the police apparently believe since they aren't investigating her, then who did kill him?  And why? 

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