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Remains found in preserve ID’d as Roosevelt teenager, police say

Nassau Police search a wooded area off Frederick

Nassau Police search a wooded area off Frederick and Brooklyn avenues in Roosevelt on Thursday where human remains were found the previous day. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The human remains dug up in Roosevelt are those of a teenager who went missing in 2016 and was described last week by Nassau police as an MS-13 victim.

Josue Amaya Leonor, 19, of Roosevelt, was identified as the homicide victim unearthed by police in a wooded area of Roosevelt Preserve, Nassau police said Monday. At the crime scene Wednesday, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder had blamed MS-13 for the killing.

Claudia Erazo, 33, Leonor’s sister, told Newsday in October that not long before his disappearance, her brother said he felt threatened at school. But she said her brother — also known as Joshua Aguilar — didn’t have enemies and didn’t mention gangs to her.

Leonor, a former student at Freeport and Roosevelt high schools, had been friends with schoolmates Angel Soler, 16, of Roosevelt, and Kerin Pineda, 20, of Freeport, according to their families. Soler and Pineda are also believed by police to be victims of MS-13.

The body of Soler, missing since July, was found Oct. 19 in woods along the Roosevelt-Baldwin border, while the remains of Pineda, reported missing in May 2016, were recovered eight days later in woods along the Merrick-Freeport border.

Leonor’s remains, which a law enforcement source described last week as bone fragments, were found Wednesday about one mile into the preserve after police charged a third man in the machete murder of Soler, who disappeared July 21 after leaving home on his mint-green bicycle.

Josue Figueroa-Velasquez, 18, of North Main Street in Freeport, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with Soler’s death, the same charge leveled against his alleged accomplices, David Sosa-Guevara of Wyandanch, and Victor Lopez of Roosevelt.

No arrests have been made in the deaths of Leonor and Pineda.

Erazo had told Newsday that her brother rarely went out at night and, when he did, always told her where he was going.

Police did not release other details of Leonor’s death, but detectives asked anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated Leonor's school status.

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