Prosecutor links accused murderers to pregnant woman’s body through cell data, diamond ring

WARWICK — Two men accused of beating a pregnant woman to death appeared in District Court Wednesday as a prosecutor presented a haul of information, including cellphone data and surveillance images as well as specifics regarding matters of romance and a diamond wedding ring that was submerged with the woman’s body in the waters of Carbuncle Pond.

The father of the Brockton woman’s unborn baby, Gary R. Gromkiewicz, 35, of Lincoln, and one of his associates, 46-year-old Michael P. Lambert, formerly of Pawtucket, face charges of murder and conspiracy in the death of 34-year-old Leila Patricia Duarte Da Luz, according to state police.

The two men, both involved in previous violent crimes, stood silently before Magistrate Judge Joseph P. Ippolito as Assistant Attorney General John Corrigan presented evidence gathered during a months-long state police investigation.

The prosecution details the facts of the Carbuncle Pond case

Corrigan’s account began with the discovery of Da Luz’s body in Coventry about one mile east of the Connecticut border on Dec. 21.

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A medical examiner determined the body had been in the water for hours, and the autopsy determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, with a “compression fracture” to the skull, and drowning, Corrigan said, adding that Da Luz was eight to 10 weeks pregnant.

Water in her lungs indicated that she was alive when she entered the water, Corrigan said.

Gary R. Gromkiewicz, 35, of Lincoln, right, and Michael  P. Lambert, 46, formerly of Pawtucket, are accused of fatally beating Gromkiewicz's onetime fiancee, a 34-year-old Brockton woman, last year. They appeared Wednesday in District Court, Warwick.

Gary R. Gromkiewicz, 35, of Lincoln, right, and Michael P. Lambert, 46, formerly of Pawtucket, are accused of fatally beating Gromkiewicz’s onetime fiancee, a 34-year-old Brockton woman, last year. They appeared Wednesday in District Court, Warwick.

Leila Patricia Duarte Da Luz goes missing from Brockton

Da Luz had been reported missing from Brockton by friends and acquaintances, Corrigan said. She fit the description of the person found in the pond.

Her landlord, he said, had seen her leaving her home in Brockton on Dec. 21 at 2:30 a.m. At the time, she was with Gromkiewicz, who was her ex-boyfriend, Corrigan said.

Gromkiewicz and Da Luz were seen climbing into a dark-colored SUV with Rhode Island license plates, Corrigan said. Gromkiewicz sat in the front passenger seat, with Da Luz in the backseat.

Each of the three was associated with a particular cellphone. And cellphone data showed that each of these phones then traveled from Da Luz’s home to a Brockton service station, Corrigan said.

At the station, he told Ippolito, Lambert purchased $40 of gasoline for the black Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Following the trail of cellphone data

In the wee hours of the morning, the three cellphones were in the Buttonwoods section of Warwick for about 45 minutes, Corrigan said.

At 5:05 a.m., he said, the cell data shows that Gromkiewicz’s phone stopped interacting with the network. Minutes later, the phones of Lambert and Da Luz were near Lincoln Mall. The two phones moved south from there, Corrigan said.

Video surveillance at a convenience store in Lincoln showed the Jeep outside, Corrigan said.

In the video, he said, Lambert enters the store and examines his hand. It’s lacerated and has abrasions on the knuckles, Corrigan said.

According to Corrigan, the lacerations are not visible in the video taken at the Brockton station.

From Lincoln, the two phones moved to an area of western Coventry near Carbuncle Pond, Corrigan said.

At 6:16 a.m., the phones were in the area near the Connecticut border and the pond.

At about 7 a.m., the phones were traveling again, back toward Scituate, Corrigan said.

Da Luz’s phone, he said, stopped interacting with the network at about 7:20 a.m.

Carbuncle Pond, where the body of Leila Patricia Duarte Da Luz was found on Dec. 21.

Carbuncle Pond, where the body of Leila Patricia Duarte Da Luz was found on Dec. 21.

A surveillance camera at the Rhode Island State Police barracks captured a black Jeep rolling past on Danielson Pike at 7:18 a.m., Corrigan said.

By 7:55 a.m., he said, an SUV that looked like Lambert’s Jeep drove south with a passenger who was bald, like Gromkiewicz, on Mendon Road in Cumberland.

By 9:45 a.m. that day, Gromkiewicz’s phone had begun to interact with the network again.

He appeared at a Bank of America branch on Hope Street in Providence and tried to withdraw $1,990 and $1,000 from Da Luz’s account.

Lab analysis of a section of liner taken from the Jeep’s trunk had DNA samples on it, Corrigan said, adding thata DNA profile for one sample was consistent with a reference sample of Da Luz’s DNA.

Lambert later told state police that he had met Gromkiewicz in prison and they had known each other for 20 years and they had worked together.

At the time of Da Luz’s death last year, Gromkiewicz was on probation for felony assault. Lambert, meanwhile, was a parolee. In 1994, when he was 17, he had participated in the macabre killing of a homeless man in Providence. His parole had liberated him from a life prison term.

Corrigan’s presentation also delved into Gromkiewicz’s romantic relationships

In the months leading up to Da Luz’s death, Corrigan said, Gromkiewicz began dating Da Luz, and in October 2022 they were engaged. She was pregnant with Gromkiewicz’s child.

They argued at one point about his use of her money to purchase an engagement ring, he said, adding that Da Luz gave the ring back to Gromkiewicz.

On Dec. 19, the couple went to Macy’s in the Warwick Mall and purchased a diamond wedding band.

The ring was on Da Luz’s hand when her body was discovered two days later, Corrigan said.

Just days later, on Dec. 24, Gromkiewicz bought another engagement ring at a Fall River pawnshop, Corrigan said.

That day, he proposed to another woman.

This other woman was aware of Da Luz’s pregnancy, and she told state police that Gromkiewicz had been stressed and nervous and he believed it would be a lot to handle, Corrigan said.

Gromkiewicz’s mother told police that her son told her he broke up with Da Luz because he believed Da Luz was lying about the pregnancy, according to Corrigan’s presentation in court.

She told police that the other woman had told Gromkiewicz to make a choice between her and Da Luz because he couldn’t afford to support two families, Corrigan said.

On Dec. 27, a Lincoln police sergeant asked Gromkiewicz if he’d had any contact with Da Luz, Corrigan said.

“Gromkiewicz replied, ‘I don’t know. Maybe a few days ago. She wouldn’t return my texts.'”

He became “increasingly agitated” during the course of the phone call, Corrigan said, adding that Gromkiewicztold the sergeant, “I’m all set. I have a girlfriend. I don’t want anything to do with Leila. If you find her, don’t call me. I don’t care.”

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: RI prosecutor links Carbuncle Pond murder suspects to body in testimony

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