, Salem, MA

Local News

March 14, 2014

20/20 recalls Peabody murder for hire

Program on Vasco case airs tonight


Croke visited the jail, where Vasco offered him $20,000 for the murder of his wife. After first deciding to kill her, he asked for his daughter to be spared. His wife was to be sealed in an oil drum and dropped into the ocean.

From this point, it was a matter of making the murder-for-hire charges stick.

Thus, Croke and Special Agent Matthew O’Shaughnessy hired a make-up artist who, with the cooperation of the wife, took photos that made it appear the scheme was a success and that she had been shot in the head and dumped in the woods. Vasco’s reaction to the photo was captured on video.

“I really appreciate that,” he told the agent. “And you’ve got, right now, my friendship, my loyalty, my respect. And anything you need, just come to me.”

He promptly found himself in federal court, where he was convicted of attempted murder and sent to prison for 28 years. Once released, he will be deported to his native Ecuador.

“This woman had incredible strength,” McDaid said later. “She had no intention of going to Canada.” She praised the wife’s ability “to think quickly under extreme pressure to come up with a plan. ... If she had not, we would not be here to talk about her today.”

Two weeks ago, 20/20 correspondent David Muir was in Peabody, talking with McDaid for the program.

Peabody Police see the TV program as a great opportunity to raise the issue of domestic violence.

“The most volatile and dangerous time for victims is when they leave their abusers,” according to Detective Mike Crane. Help in doing that safely is available at HAWC, Healing Abuse Working for Change, at 800-547-1649.

Alan Burke can be reached at

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