Police: Remains found in Long Island preserve likely MS-13 victim

Massapequa Preserve
Photo credit 1010 WINS

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (1010 WINS) – A decomposing body was found in a shallow grave at a forested park in Nassau County this week, and authorities believe the discovery could be related to the violent MS-13 gang.

Police have yet to identify the body found in Massapequa Preserve, but they believe they know who it is and say it's likely one of 11 people killed by MS-13 since 2016.

At a news conference Saturday, police said they won’t know definitively until DNA results come back, as the body has decayed over several years.

The discovery was made about 100 feet away from where the body of 18-year-old Julio Espantzay-Gonzalez was discovered in early 2017. Authorities believe Espantzay-Gonzalez was lured into the preserve, then hacked with machetes, shot and buried.

After Espantzay-Gonzalez's body was discovered, authorities received information that a second body was buried in the same area of the park, and so police began to look.

"Over the time we've dug here twice, extensively," Nassau police Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said. "We've come back numerous times, raking leaves. Two of our detectives have raked probably an acre of land back here."

Police said the 425-acre preserve is safe and that he doesn’t believe there are any other bodies buried there.

A man who was walking in the preserve Saturday morning said he feels sorry for the victims’ families. He doesn’t believe there is any risk to park visitors like himself.

“It’s certainly not going to stop me from going in, I don’t think they’re hanging out,” he said.

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