The officers who arrived at the Suffolk County home of Valerie Cincinelli in 2019 were there to share devastating news with the then-NYPD officer: her estranged husband and the father of her child was dead.
“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that Isaiah was found dead this morning,” one cop told Cincinelli, footage of the exchange showed.
“Are you f****** kidding me?” Cincinelli could be seen asking before breaking down.
But prosecutors said it was all an act. They said Cincinelli wasn’t surprised to hear her husband was dead because she orchestrated a chilling murder-for-hire plot to kill him. And the police’s arrival at Cincinelli’s doorstep wasn’t really on the heels of his death, but instead part of a sting operation to bring her to justice.
“I thought I was marrying someone who swore to protect and serve… a cop… Instead I got a crazed lunatic,” Isaiah Carvalho told in an exclusive interview.
“What do you see when you watch this video? asked correspondent Steven Fabian.
“To me it looks like a cold-blooded, cold-hearted person,” Carvalho
Carvalho had never before seen the footage of Cincinelli learning of his supposed death. But he likely had never before imagined having to stage his own death with FBI agents who were keyed into the former cop’s alleged plot, either.
“It haunts me every day,” he said of the day he pretended to be dead.
“FBI told me to sit in the car,” he recalled. “They took glass, they put it all on the floor here… and told me to hunch over into the passenger seat.”
The FBI were alerted to Cincinelli’s alleged plot by her then-boyfriend, John DiRubba, who, according to police, Cincinelli put in charge of hiring a hitman for $7,000. But, cops said, DiRubba went straight to the FBI because, he said, Cincinelli wanted to add one more victim to her hit list: DiRubba’s own daughter. Cincinelli was said to be jealous of the pricey gifts DiRubba was buying his daughter, who was 13 at the time, including Louis Vuitton bags, Ugg boots and fake nails every week. Police said she hated the teen with a passion and wanted her dead.
Instead, working with the FBI, Carvalho and DiRubba joined forces.
“Did she really think she’d get away with this?” Fabian asked Carvalho.
“I really believe she did,” Carvalho said.
“She went through with it… took gold coins out,” he continued. Prosecutors said Cincinelli gave the money for the killings to DiRubba, who converted it into gold coins to purportedly pay the hitman. “She had every intention of going through with it,” Carvalho said.
While attempting to orchestrate her husband’s killing, Cincinelli worked as an office with the NYPD. She and Carvalho had been married for five years and had one son together. But their relationship was failing and in 2019, the pair were going through a messy divorce.
“We were fighting all the time,” Carvalho said.
Cincinelli was shown a photo of the fake scene as proof of his death. After believing her husband to be dead, Cincinelli was recorded by DiRubba as she allegedly tried to cover her tracks.
“Delete my f***** texts. You’re not keeping anything on this f***** phone,” she could be heard telling him.
It was then that the FBI moved in.
Cincinelli pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 48 months in prison. The murder-for-hire charges were dropped. Cincinelli was suspended without pay after her arrest and resigned from the NYPD in March 2021. DiRubba was not charged.
Carvalho carries the ordeal with him every day.
“I look over my shoulder constantly,” he said when asked if he’s worried that one day, Cincinelli will find someone who will actually carry out her plot. “Not a day by [that] I’m not afraid for my life.”