Surveillance video shows encounter between motel clerk and murder suspect

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LOGANVILLE, Pa. – Kalgi Vadher and her parents never thought their motel would be where an accused killer would hide from police.

York police arrested Durell Cotton, 19, around 3:30 p.m. Monday in connection with three homicides over a two-year period. Surveillance video obtained by Fox 43 shows the meeting between Cotton and Vadher, as well as the arrest.

Guests told her later that Cotton was the man York City police wanted for those incidents, to which she said, “Wow, that's scary, this is the guy that came to my office to pay the rent and I was face-to-face with him,” Vadher said.

Vadher left the area Tuesday as a safety precaution after the encounter with Cotton, who was charged last month in the June murders of Angel Berrios and Abdiel Vazquez-Soto, as well as a 2013 homicide.

Cotton had been staying there for about two weeks, Vadher said.

Durell Cotton Jr.

Durell Cotton Jr.

“No one had seen him,” she said. “He never came out of his room. There were people going in and out of his room, there was a lady who came every day to bring him food.”

Around 9 a.m. Monday, Durell Cotton went to the office window at the Midway Motel, where Vadher was working. He pulled out money and a phone and paid for the room, saying it was on behalf of his uncle, signing a receipt under a fake name.

Not seen in the video is when undercover officers arrive about two hours later. They talked to Vadher about other people they were looking for before showing her a photo of Cotton. She says it sort of looked like him and showed them the surveillance video and his receipt.

Thinking it was him, the officers told her they would be back. A few hours later, police in SWAT gear arrive and make the arrest. Vadher says she could not believe the encounter she had with him.

“Just watching that, I had the camera pulled up in the computer, and it was just scary,” Vadher said. “You see this in shows and movies and to have this happen in front of you is scary.”

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about where Cotton was staying is that he was pretty much hiding in plain sight. The Midway Motel is right next door to the State Police barracks in Loganville.

Cotton is in jail awaiting a preliminary hearing.

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