Two US men arrested for burying woman alive

NEW YORK (AFP) - Two American men have been accused of burying a woman alive, according to court documents released on Friday after the pair was arrested and charged with murder.

One of the two men, a 36-year-old landscaper, knew the victim, 41-year-old mother of two Fatima Perez, who was reported missing on Monday evening in Camden, New Jersey.

According to Camden police, Ms Perez went out on Monday to buy a car with US$8,000 (S$10,006) in cash. The landscaper, Carlos Alicea-Antonetti, had agreed to drive her to where she was to make the purchase.

But the two had an argument in the course of which Ms Perez fell from the van, Alicea-Antonetti told police, according to court documents.

She got back in, at which point Alicea-Antonetti went to pick up his employee Ramon Ortiz, 57.

The two men gave different accounts of the events that followed, but both have admitted the young woman was buried alive in a wooded area south of Camden, in an improvised grave dug by Ortiz.

They pulled her out of the back of the van, where she was tied up and her mouth and eyes covered by duct tape.

Ortiz led police to her body on Wednesday, in a grave hidden under branches near Monroe Township.

Police found nearly US$7,000 in cash with Alicea-Antonetti when he was arrested.

The autopsy confirmed that the woman suffocated to death.

The two men, charged on Thursday, have been jailed, with bail set at US$5 million.

Camden, home to 77,000 residents, is one of the poorest and most violent cities in the United States.