SMITHFIELD, Va. (WAVY) — A man is now facing murder charges in the death of a Smithfield woman. Multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating 72-year-old Naira Davis’ death after her body was found at a friend’s home Friday evening.
Smithfield Police Chief Steven Bowman held a press conference Friday evening about Davis, who was reported missing by her husband on Thursday around 6:40 p.m. The husband told police his wife had left their home on Calvary Way around 4 p.m. to visit a friend a few streets over, in the 300 block of Lane Crescent. Around 4:30 p.m., the friend called the husband, concerned that Davis had never arrived.
Through the night, police and the husband canvassed the area, looking for Davis, and around 8:45 a.m. Friday, the husband located her vehicle in the 900 block of West Andrews Crossing. When officers arrived, they found the vehicle with windows partially down and keys and personal effects inside.
Bowman said Calvary Way, Lane Crescent and West Andrews Crossing are all connected within a very small Smithfield neighborhood.
The discovery of Davis’ vehicle initiated an hours-long search by multiple law enforcement agencies, including K-9 units and Nightingale, that was temporarily suspended when severe weather tore through the area Friday afternoon.
“At the time that we were working the missing persons report, we were also working the possibility that Mrs. Davis had met with foul play,” Bowman said.
During the investigation, witnesses told police they had seen Davis arrive at the Lance Crescent residence to visit her friend and had seen the friend’s son, 49-year-old David Joseph Ricciardi, leave the home in Davis’ vehicle. The caregiver of Ricciardi’s mother also told police she located a body at the Lane Crescent residence.
Around 4:50 p.m., warrants were executed to search the Lane Crescent residence and arrest Ricciardi, who lived at the Lane Crescent home with his mother. Bowman said Ricciardi was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Saturday, the charges against Ricciardi were upgraded to first degree murder.
Bowman said investigators believe Ricciardi attacked Davis when she arrived at the Lane Crescent home, and that weapons were involved, although not a gun or a knife.
“What it appears, is that upon arrival at the scene, the suspect encountered Mrs. Davis and some type of encounter occurred that caused her death,” Bowman said.
Bowman said Ricciardi’s elderly mother is physically infirmed and bed-ridden most of the time, and very possibly did not know that Davis ever arrived at her home.
The woman’s body has been taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office for official identification and to determine the exact cause of death. However, based on Davis’ description and the clothing found at the scene, investigators are confident the body is Davis, Bowman said.
Bowman also said he is confident with the evidence they have that Ricciardi is the man responsible for Davis’ death, although the motive is unknown: “Why this occurred? we really don’t have any answer,” he said.
The Sheriff’s Office has received disturbance calls about Ricciardi before, but not anything of a specific violent nature, Bowman said.
” … just disturbance calls from time to time that involved him, and nothing to indicate that he would be predisposed to this kind of act,” Bowman said.
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