Joseph Traeger, 50, of Sunrise, was arrested Thursday night in connection with the Nov. 28 killing of Jeneen Catanzaro, according to the Sunrise Police.
The case began as a missing person investigation.
Traeger called 911 on Dec. 2 to report his wife missing and told police he last saw her the morning of Nov. 29 when he left for work, according to the probable cause affidavit. Catanzaro’s mother told police she had not heard from her daughter since Nov. 27.
Traeger told police they were married for 10 years but were arguing over financial problems and faced “marital problems over the past year due to his heroin addiction,” documents said.
Catanzaro had filed two domestic battery reports against her husband this year, the probable cause affidavit said.
Traeger’s stepfather told police he had been warning Catanzaro about Traeger’s “violent behavior” for over a month, the probable cause affidavit said. The stepfather told police “he made Jeneen promise to call every morning when she woke up so he would know that she was alive,” the document said.
Traeger first told investigators that Catanzaro told him to move out in October, but at her request, he moved back into the house on Nov. 28, documents said. He said he left for work the morning of Nov. 29 and then his wife vanished, the documents said.
But police said video surveillance from the neighborhood showed Catanzaro come home on Nov. 27 and never leave the house again, documents said.
On Monday, Traeger told investigators that his wife died accidentally; he said he saw her lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor so he assumed she had a seizure and died from hitting her head, the probable cause affidavit said.
Traeger told investigators he “panicked” and didn’t want to call police and “be blamed for killing her,” so he put her in trash bags and into the garbage bin for pick up, the probable cause affidavit said.
Once the trash was picked up, Traeger said he went to a casino for the rest of the day.
On Thursday, Traeger admitted to authorities that the story about finding his wife on the kitchen floor was a lie, the probable cause affidavit said.
Traeger said he asked his wife if he could move back in, and when she refused, she grabbed the phone to call 911 because he wouldn’t leave, the probable cause affidavit said.
Traeger told police he “snapped” and stabbed her with a knife, the probable cause affidavit said. Her body was later found in a landfill, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Traeger was charged with homicide, making a false report and destroying or tampering with evidence. It was unclear if he had an attorney.