Official: Human head found in Hempstead

A human head was found in the yard of a Hempstead Village home on Thursday, July 17, 2014, Deputy Mayor Waylyn Hobbs says. Police are investigating, Hobbs says, whether there is a connection to a dismembered body found July 8 in Bay Shore. (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

A human head that could belong to a missing Brooklyn woman was found Thursday in the yard of a Hempstead Village home, about a week after two severed arms were discovered dumped in residential yards there, village officials said.

Police are investigating whether the head and arms belong to a dismembered body found July 8 in Bay Shore, Deputy Mayor Waylyn Hobbs said at the scene.

Hempstead police said the head was found by a village resident about 4:50 p.m. in the front yard bushes of a Boylston Street home.


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"He noticed a bunch of birds around the bushes and thought that was unusual," Hobbs said.

Insp. Kenneth Lack, a Nassau police spokesman, would not confirm the find but said Nassau homicide detectives were helping their Suffolk counterparts with "an investigation." He declined to elaborate.

Jonathan Grier, 51, who lives in the home, recalled an awful smell while mowing his lawn last Friday.

But he didn't look because he feared he'd make a gruesome discovery, he said.

"I told my sister, 'Something is dead in these bushes and I'm not going to look for it,' " said Grier, a landscaper. "It's crazy."

On Thursday, two of his neighbors found the head in a black, plastic grocery bag, he said.

It was the third body part discovered in a week in a residential area in Hempstead. The head was found a few blocks from where the first severed arm was found on a Webb Avenue home's lawn on July 9. Another arm was found July 10 in a yard on Cornell Street, about half a mile from the first arm.

Detectives in New York City, and in Nassau and Suffolk counties are awaiting results of DNA tests to confirm that the arms and dismembered body are those of Chinelle Latoya Browne, 27, of Brooklyn, sources have said. The married mother of four was last seen July 5.

Three days after that, a dismembered body was found in a vacant Bay Shore lot used as a shortcut between a municipal parking lot and the Fire Island Ferry. The body was missing both arms and its head, sources have said.

Dionne Browne, a sister-in-law of the missing woman, said police have told the family the Bay Shore remains are believed to be those of her relative.

Though medical examiners have not officially identified the remains, a tattoo on the dismembered body matches Browne's, a police source said last weekend.

The NYPD declined to comment Thursday. Suffolk police said homicide detectives responded Thursday to the discovery of a "body part" after Hempstead police got a 911 call. The body part was taken to the Nassau medical examiner's office, Suffolk police said.

Hobbs said he went to the neighborhood to "reassure" residents. "We don't believe the crime was committed here," Hobbs said. "Unfortunately, they picked the Village of Hempstead to dump the body parts. Residents are shocked; it's just not the norm."

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