Men accused of killing pregnant fiancée found in icy pond

Posted at 11:54 AM, May 12, 2023 and last updated 12:05 PM, May 12, 2023


WARWICK, R.I. (Court TV) – Two men were arrested and charged with the murder of a pregnant woman whose body was found beneath the ice in a Rhode Island pond.

Rhode Island State Police announced Tuesday the arrests of Gary R. Gromkiewiczpreg and Michael P. Lambert on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Leila Duarte Da Luz.

Left: booking photo of Gary Gromkiewicz right: booking photo of Michael Lambert

Gary Gromkiewicz (left) and Michael Lambert (right) are charged with murder and conspiracy in the death of Leila Duarte Da Luz (Rhode Island State Police)

Da Luz’s body was found on December 21, 2022, when members of the Rhode Island State Police responded to a report of a dead woman in the pond. Officers at the scene reported the unidentified woman had several cuts to her head and immediately determined the death was suspicious. The next day, the Rhode Island Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy and determined Da Luz was pregnant. Her manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Da Luz was identified on December 27, when the Brockton Police Department received a report of a missing person, and were able to identify the body as belonging to Leila Patricia Duarte Da Luz, 34, of Brockton, Massachusetts.

During a probable cause hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors said Da Luz’s body had been in the water for several hours, and that she was alive when she was put into the water, WLNE reported. Prosecutors said the victim later drowned.

Gromkiewicz is the father of Da Luz’s unborn child, and stood alongside Lambert at Wednesday’s hearing. Both men have a history of violent crimes. Gromkiewicz is currently on probation for a 2015 felony assault with a deadly weapon, and Lambert was on parole at the time of Da Luz’s death for a 1990s murder conviction, prosecutors told The Providence Journal. The two men allegedly met in prison.

State police said they executed 53 search warrants for evidence used in the investigation into the murder and analyzed massive amounts of data, which is why the arrests took so long.

At Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors said Da Luz was murdered after she and Gromkiewicz, to whom she was engaged, argued over the amount of money he had spent on a diamond ring, WLNE reported.

Da Luz’s landlord saw her leaving her Brockton home on Dec. 21 at 2:30 a.m. with Gromkiewicz and getting into a dark-colored SUV with Rhode Island license plates. Da Luz allegedly got into the backseat of the vehicle, while Gromkiewicz got into the front passenger seat. Cell phone data entered into evidence at Wednesday’s hearing showed Da Luz’s phone with Gromkiewicz and Lambert leaving her home in Brockton and driving to Rhode Island, The Providence Journal reported.

Police said in the days following Da Luz’s disappearance, officers contacted Gromkiewicz to ask if he had seen her. He allegedly told officers, “If you find her, don’t call me. I don’t care,” before hanging up, WLNE reported.

Prosecutors said Da Luz was found wearing a wedding ring Gromkiewicz had purchased for her two days prior, WPRI reported. Prosecutors said Gromkiewiciz then proposed to a different woman on December 24.

Both men were ordered to be held without bail. No plea had been entered.