Foul play does not appear to have been involved in the deaths of a man and woman whose bodies were found in the Delaware River on Thursday while their 5-year-old daughter was found safe in a nearby vehicle, Philadelphia police said Friday.
Police identified the couple as Anjania Patterson, 28, and Tim Siler, 39. A police spokesperson said surveillance video has led authorities to believe that Patterson “went into the water of her own volition.”
In interviews Friday, Patterson’s relatives had said they suspected foul play because Siler had been abusive in the unmarried couple’s relationship, which they thought was over.
But surveillance video retrieved from the Residences at Dockside, 717 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., leads police to believe that “it doesn’t look there was any indication of foul play at this time,” Sgt. Eric Gripp, the police spokesperson, said Friday evening.
The video did not capture the moments when Patterson and Siler went into the river, but showed Siler’s Nissan SUV stopping and parking on the boulevard near the condominium building at 2:38 a.m. Thursday, Gripp said.
Two minutes later, Patterson exited the front passenger seat and walked toward the river’s edge, but then was out of view of the surveillance camera, Gripp said. A minute after she got out, Siler exited the driver’s seat and was seen on the video either talking on a cell phone or to Patterson as he gestured toward the river’s edge, Gripp said.
Siler returned to the SUV, but then went back toward the river, and was last seen in the video about 2:44 a.m., said Gripp. The couple’s daughter was asleep in the SUV, he said.
Police and the Medical Examiner’s Office are still investigating, Gripp said.
Gripp said a jogger saw Patterson’s body in the river about 5:45 a.m. Thursday and called police. Responding officers then called the Marine Unit, Patterson’s body was recovered, and she was pronounced dead.
Police found the girl alone in the SUV. Hours later, authorities discovered Siler’s body in the river and pulled him out. He was pronounced dead just before 10:45 a.m. Thursday.
A police source said Friday that Patterson’s shoes and her cell phone were found at the river’s edge.
Patterson’s relatives were reeling from her death and news of the video on Friday.
Earlier Friday, her mother, Denise Johnson, and her aunt Sandra Johnson described a years-long abusive relationship by Siler during interviews outside the mother’s Abbotsford Homes apartment in East Falls, where Patterson grew up.
Patterson had met Siler about a decade ago and had moved in with him when she was about 21, her mother said.
“Her daughter was her pride and joy,” the mother said, describing Patterson as an “ambitious, outgoing person" who worked as a certified nursing assistant.
“We knew they were in an abusive relationship for a long time,” the aunt said, adding that Patterson in February or March “got up the nerve” and left Siler’s home with her daughter and moved into her own place near Roosevelt Boulevard.
“We’re just trying to put the pieces together of what happened because we know there was foul play,” the aunt contended.
“We thought she wasn’t involved with him” anymore, Patterson’s mother said.
Sandra Johnson said the young girl had not yet been informed of her parents’ deaths.
Wiping tears from her eyes, she described Patterson as a daughter to her. “She loved life, she loved the water. She would take her daughter to Wildwood, Atlantic City. She loved seafood. She liked to joke. She loved her family.”
The aunt also said Patterson had called police on Siler as recently as last year.
Outside Siler’s home on the 4800 block of Rosalie Street in Wissinoming Friday, two glass-enclosed candles and two stuffed animals had been placed in front of his door.
Neighbor Don Laverty, 62, said he hadn’t seen Siler in about four months, but recalled him as a “very nice, very pleasant person.”
Laverty said he had the impression that Siler and Patterson “were abusive to each other.” About four years ago, Laverty said, Siler came running to his house alleging that Patterson was abusive and asking if he could call the police.
“They just fought, and they both seemed to have tempers,” Laverty said, recalling that Patterson had moved out a couple of times, but returned.
Shanaya Bell, 29, a former neighbor on Rosalie Street who was visiting a friend there Friday, recalled the couple as “really nice."
Online court records show that Siler had a criminal record in Philadelphia: