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FBI, police search for human remains in wooded area in Freeport

Several law enforcement agencies were searching Friday evening,

Several law enforcement agencies were searching Friday evening, Oct. 27, 2017 for possible human remains in a wooded area on the Freeport/Merrick border, authorities said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

For the second day this week, the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force searched a wooded area for possible human remains Friday — this time in a wooded area on the Freeport/Merrick border, authorities said.

Investigators were due back at the cordoned-off scene near the Long Island Rail Road tracks on Saturday morning.

Officials from three participating law enforcement agencies — the FBI, State Police and Nassau police — would not confirm whether a body had been found.

The latest search was conducted two days after authorities located human remains in a Freeport park.

Friday’s search site straddles Meadowbrook Parkway and areas north of the LIRR tracks, which run parallel to Sunrise Highway.

On the west side of the wooded area, on Commercial Street and Lakeview Avenue, yellow police tape blocked the open gates leading to the railroad tracks a few yards away.

Nassau police Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun confirmed an investigation was underway at the scene, declining further comment.

A State Police spokesman said his agency’s canine units helped in the search.

Several FBI agents wearing LI Gang Task Force jackets carried shovels and rakes as they emerged from the woods about 6:30 p.m. They declined to answer questions, and an FBI representative could not be reached for comment.

A Merrick resident who lives nearby said he was returning home on a train when he saw authorities digging in the woods.

“The sad part is a lot of people walk back there with their dogs,” said the resident, who asked not to be identified. “I’m not letting my kids walk back there now. Can you imagine them stumbling upon a body?”

It was unclear whether Friday’s search was related to one launched Wednesday by the FBI task force in Cow Meadow Park & Preserve, which yielded human remains.

That effort was one of two searches for remains in Nassau on Wednesday. The other was conducted by Nassau officers and took place at the Massapequa Preserve, where the body of Julio Cesar Gonzales-Espantzay, 19, was found in the 432-acre park in March.

Police said he had been stabbed and shot in January and authorities have blamed his death on two men whom they described as MS-13 members.

No additional remains were found in the preserve, Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Thursday.

Earlier this month, Nassau police identified human remains found on the Roosevelt-Baldwin border — several miles north of Cow Meadow Park — as Angel Soler, 16, of Roosevelt.

Federal investigators and Nassau police believe Soler was killed by MS-13 members, according to sources familiar with that investigation.

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