Two teenage girls who had just started school for the year were found dead this week in Brentwood, less than 24 hours apart.
The killings of Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, have sparked outrage, grief and questions from their community. No arrests have been made and Suffolk County police are continuing to investigate.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Mickens and Cuevas were found less than 24 hours apart near the same cul-de-sac. A passing motorist found Mickens’ body at Ray Court and Stahley Street at 8:35 p.m. Tuesday. A woman who lives nearby spotted Cuevas’ body in the woods off Ray Court at 5:14 p.m. Wednesday.
- Police believe the two teenagers were together when they were attacked.
- Both Cuevas and Mickens appeared to have been beaten to death. Mickens’ injuries were mostly to the head and face.
- Police are offering a $10,000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer. The reward was doubled Friday after Suffolk County Crime Stoppers received an anonymous donation.
To increase security, police have stationed squad cars outside Brentwood High School’s Ross Center and other area schools, and metal detectors were reintroduced at the high school.
Family members and friends have built memorials of balloons, flowers and other mementos at the site of the killings, while some social media users expressed their grief on Twitter. Hundreds, including Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, attended a community vigil on Friday night.
A law enforcement source said Thursday that Cuevas had recently gotten into a dispute in school with students believed to be MS-13 gang members.
Police said Friday they are focusing their attention on known gang members with assistance from federal officials.