The “Salsa Queen” Murder

Nori Amaya sitting a blue chair

On Halloween night, 2009, 38-year-old Washington DC restauranteur, Nori Amaya, heads out to go salsa dancing at her favorite clubs with her best friends. Nori is unmatched on the dance floor, and her extraordinary dance style has earned her the nickname “The Salsa Queen.” That night, however, Nori mysteriously leaves the dance club in tears and heads home. Security cameras capture Nori returning to her apartment complex around 2AM. And that is the last time she is seen alive. When Nori doesn’t show up for work at her brother Carlos’s restaurant two days in a row, Carlos and his sister, Liz, go to Nori’s apartment to check on her. To their horror, they find Nori dead in her bed — she has been strangled to death. The killer has left no murder weapon or fingerprints, but police find unidentified male DNA on Nori’s body—the only clue to this brutal crime. Investigators painstakingly review footage from the security cameras in Nori’s apartment building, certain they’ll be able to identify a suspect. However, almost everyone who crossed the cameras is wearing a Halloween mask or costume. Investigators interview Nori’s friends and dance partners and gather DNA samples from all her male friends, including her ex-boyfriend, but they do not find a match. Today, investigators and Nori’s family hope someone will come forward with a lead in this case. Who murdered Nori Amaya and why?

A $25,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Nori Amaya’s killer. If you have any information about this case, please contact the Metropolitan Homicide Department at 202-645-9600, or submit a tip at

Download a transcript of this episode


  1. Dee

    I was just curious. They say that she was found covered up indicating that the perp knew her. They also said that her fingernails were cut. Were the police and family sure that everyone that they knew that she knew were interrogated? Also, did they ever look into the cab driver who did her stop, where her phone was left?


  2. Nia

    I’d check the security guards they can lock the door on the way out and would have been able to freely walk the building without suspicion and had access to security footage as well as knowledge to cut the fingernails and knowing they had time to spend in the crime scene plus the story doesn’t mention the security guards reaction to finding the body there should have been some sort of reaction.


  3. Victoria

    Did they compare camera footage from the nightclubs she attended with surveillance footage at her apartment? I know it was Halloween but maybe someone with the same costume appears at both locations.


  4. Dwight

    Who was the person Nori spoke with at the front desk of her apartment complex? Have they been tested for a DNA match? And Nori’s sister said she didn’t lock her door, so the killer could’ve been anyone who lived there or visited that night.


  5. Alan J. Price

    I lived on the 11th Floor at the Woodner from 2016-2020. I had no idea this had happened – what was her unit number? The reason I ask is because going out to work in the morning, numerous times throughout those four years, I spotted a very strange behavior from a weird individual peeking through a mail slot. Not every door had a mail slot, and this person clearly didn’t live there and his behavior was off.


  6. Kari M.

    They need to contact Parabon and have CeCe Moore do genealogical DNA, she’s the one that caught the golden state killer


  7. Reina

    They should look into the security guard! Security is aware of police investigations and know to cut the nails for possible dna! Also, they have master keys! We’ve seen many homicides that the perpetrator was a security guy! Just my thoughts but maybe they did look into him or them ( there might be few security guards working in that big complex)! I’m sure one day they will get a hit with the dna they’ve found! Maybe with the familial dna!


  8. Cam

    did they look at neighbors?? everyone coming in and out had a keycard, if they lived there. and visitors had to sign in, so there should be plenty of names. there should have been an interview with everyone who came and left within the time frame of her murder. how easy could a neighbor sneak up behind her as she’s going inside or just knock on the door and force his way in?? I’d say easy. and if the neighbors had no involvement, maybe they saw and/or heard something. perhaps this was done but there was no mention of it. asking for volunteer dna samples from these people would be an easy request as well. the guilty will usually have a negative reaction to this..


  9. Sophie L.

    If they cut her nails, I’m sure they planted the mysterious DNA. Still heartbroken after hearing this podcast. I genuinely hope they get justice.


  10. Drew

    Has anyone looked into the “cab driver/company” Just a thought.. maybe the cab driver went to park the car, put on a mask and followed her into her apartment, took her phone as an alibi and turned it in to the dispacher/ office at the end of the shift? She had been drinking and maybe not aware of her surroundings. OR she did leave it in the car and he went to return it and committed the crime after going up to her place then kept it with him as he left the apartment…IDK just thinking.. Thank you, prayers to the family.


  11. Evan

    I wonder if anyone has run the mysterious DNA through a system where people submit their DNA to find family members like they did to find the Golden State Killer.


  12. Aiden Humphrey

    I watched the podcast and it is suspicious that Nari was in tears and just went home and did not come to work. The second suspect that said he had a key that was a lie I know it was.


  13. Sid

    I think the unsub was waiting for her in her apartment I also think that the unsub is a cop that’s why they were not able to find any result for the DNA


  14. Julian

    Probably the second suspect that lied about not having a key to her apartment is somehow linked to this; maybe he planted the DNA or hired someone else to murder Nori..


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