A Lynbrook teenager was killed and her body found on a footbridge in Rockville Centre, Nassau police said Friday.
Two boys who had seen the victim less than an hour earlier discovered their friend's partially nude and bloodied body about 10 p.m. Thursday on a footbridge that spans eastbound Merrick Road.
"We freaked out," said David Paiz, 14, who along with his 17-year-old brother called police.
Lauren Daverin, 18, was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:15 p.m. by paramedics, police said. The body was taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy.
The cause of death was not immediately known and no arrests had been made as of Friday night. Investigators are reviewing Daverin's cellphone records and security camera footage in the area to try to identify people who had contact with her around the time of the killing, a law enforcement source said.
The victim's mother, Kathleen Daverin, declined to comment, as did other relatives.
The family started a Facebook page titled "RIP Lauren Daverin" showing pictures of her through the years.
"Lauren was a strong and amazing person, and we haven't even begun to start feeling the true loss we are now faced with," the family said on the page.
An older sister posted: "Every part of my heart is broken, and I cannot wait to meet you again in another life and make sure I appreciate every hug and every kiss and every fight."
David Paiz said Friday that he last saw Daverin hanging out at the footbridge about 9 p.m. Thursday. She was with a group of young people who were drinking and smoking, he said.
The brothers said they left to go home, and about 45 minutes later returned to the bridge and saw the body.
Daverin only had her boots on; the rest of her clothes were on the ground nearby, David Paiz said.
Scared, Paiz said he and his brother, Eric, briefly ran away. They returned to examine the body by the light of their cellphones and recognized Daverin by her red hair.
He said he knew her through mutual friends, calling her "really nice and funny."
Daverin attended Lynbrook High School, but left the district as a ninth-grader, said Kathy Beatty, a district spokeswoman.
Beatty did not know where Daverin transferred to but said her former classmates graduated in June.
Daverin's family featured some of her postings on the Facebook page.
"Happiness is not the absence of problems," Daverin had written. "It's the ability to deal with them."
Friends gathered Friday night at the graffiti-riddled Mill Pond footbridge, lighting memorial candles and leaving white roses.
Aaron Holod, 24, of Rockville Centre, said his friend was "always smiling . . . She was very straightforward and a little rough around the edges, but had a lot of positive energy."
Another friend, Tom Gagliardi, 20, of East Rockaway, said he first heard about her death on Facebook.
"I was shocked," he said. "She was a low-key type of girl, strong-minded. She was funny. She didn't like drama."
Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.
With Gary Dymski, John Valenti, Kevin Deutsch
and Jo Napolitano
You also may be interested in:
More coverageLIer who survived falling tree wants to do 'Ellen' Freeport man charged in box-cutter slashing
A vicious box-cutter slashing, stemming from an ongoing dispute, led to the arrest of aPolice: Cops, crews help deliver baby
Police officers and medical personnel responding to an early Wednesday 911 call of a woman