Suffolk police K9 units search Southards Pond Park on Friday....

Suffolk police K9 units search Southards Pond Park on Friday. On Saturday morning, parkgoers returned. Credit: Howard Schnapp

As a kid growing up in Lindenhurst, Phyllis Hollman would ride her bike through the trails of Southards Pond Park in nearby Babylon Village.

Now 69, Hollman said she still frequents the park, walking 3 to 4 miles on the trails and sometimes taking pictures of wildlife.

On Saturday morning, one day after Suffolk County police ended a search of the park following the discovery of human remains on the edges of it Thursday, Hollman returned for a morning walk with her husband, Larry, and their dog, Graham, a pit bull/husky mix.

“I’m totally gutted,” she said of the recent news. “We love this park. I’m heartbroken.”

Police on Friday said they located human body parts that investigators believe belong to two unknown victims. Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer, commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Homicide Unit, said Friday investigators found a head, legs and arm that appear to belong to a woman.

The body parts were found on the west side of the park after the initial discovery, on the east side, of two severed arms police said they believed belong to a man.

Police did not have any updates Saturday on the victims' identities. In a statement, the police press office declined to provide more information on the case: "The investigation is continuing and we don't have any further updates."

After police cleared out late Friday, little evidence remained Saturday morning of a crime scene except for a stray piece of yellow police tape on the dirt near a trail entrance. Under a light drizzle, a handful of residents brought their dogs to the park or jogged along the trails.

Larry Hollman, who for nearly 25 years has taken walks through the park, said he wasn’t surprised by the news.

“This is how I explained it to my brother: There’s that scene in ‘Casablanca’ where Claude Rains goes in and says, ‘Shocking, there’s gambling going on in this establishment.’ … I’ve seen everything under the sun in here.”

Several residents said they were undeterred by the news as they returned to their routines at the park. Some speculated the human remains were the result of gang activity, although police have not confirmed that.

When asked about the possibility of the street gang MS-13 being responsible, Beyrer said Friday that police were looking at all possible suspects and motives.

Mike Hoyt, a retiree, held an umbrella Saturday at the entrance to a trail and said he walks through the park every day. He described it as a “quiet, peaceful place.”

He began his walk a little later than normal since he said he wasn’t sure if the park had reopened.

“Regular morning routine,” he said. “Normally it’s a beautiful spot. The wildlife starts to spring up in the spring, which makes it nice.”

The park abuts Babylon Elementary School and Babylon Memorial Grade School. Phyllis Hollman said the proximity to the schools also made the news upsetting.

By 10 a.m., rain intensified as puddles formed on empty tennis courts and a playground at the park.

Tom Stroppel, who lives nearby, said he visits the park often, typically in the morning.

“It’s a beautiful place, beautiful neighborhood,” he said. “Somebody must have came from another town and dumped over here.”

He said he was at the park Thursday when he noticed yellow police tape toward the end of his walk.

“It felt weird,” he said. “When I walked in, there was nobody here, except the people I see every day. And then on the way out, I see cop cars. I said, ‘Holy cow.’ ”

With Matthew Chayes

As a kid growing up in Lindenhurst, Phyllis Hollman would ride her bike through the trails of Southards Pond Park in nearby Babylon Village.

Now 69, Hollman said she still frequents the park, walking 3 to 4 miles on the trails and sometimes taking pictures of wildlife.

On Saturday morning, one day after Suffolk County police ended a search of the park following the discovery of human remains on the edges of it Thursday, Hollman returned for a morning walk with her husband, Larry, and their dog, Graham, a pit bull/husky mix.

“I’m totally gutted,” she said of the recent news. “We love this park. I’m heartbroken.”

Police on Friday said they located human body parts that investigators believe belong to two unknown victims. Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer, commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Homicide Unit, said Friday investigators found a head, legs and arm that appear to belong to a woman.

The body parts were found on the west side of the park after the initial discovery, on the east side, of two severed arms police said they believed belong to a man.

Police did not have any updates Saturday on the victims' identities. In a statement, the police press office declined to provide more information on the case: "The investigation is continuing and we don't have any further updates."

After police cleared out late Friday, little evidence remained Saturday morning of a crime scene except for a stray piece of yellow police tape on the dirt near a trail entrance. Under a light drizzle, a handful of residents brought their dogs to the park or jogged along the trails.

Larry Hollman, with Graham, back at the park Saturday morning.

Larry Hollman, with Graham, back at the park Saturday morning. Credit: John Roca

Larry Hollman, who for nearly 25 years has taken walks through the park, said he wasn’t surprised by the news.

“This is how I explained it to my brother: There’s that scene in ‘Casablanca’ where Claude Rains goes in and says, ‘Shocking, there’s gambling going on in this establishment.’ … I’ve seen everything under the sun in here.”

Several residents said they were undeterred by the news as they returned to their routines at the park. Some speculated the human remains were the result of gang activity, although police have not confirmed that.

When asked about the possibility of the street gang MS-13 being responsible, Beyrer said Friday that police were looking at all possible suspects and motives.

Mike Hoyt, a retiree, held an umbrella Saturday at the entrance to a trail and said he walks through the park every day. He described it as a “quiet, peaceful place.”

He began his walk a little later than normal since he said he wasn’t sure if the park had reopened.

“Regular morning routine,” he said. “Normally it’s a beautiful spot. The wildlife starts to spring up in the spring, which makes it nice.”

A police officer searches at the park on Friday.

A police officer searches at the park on Friday. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The park abuts Babylon Elementary School and Babylon Memorial Grade School. Phyllis Hollman said the proximity to the schools also made the news upsetting.

By 10 a.m., rain intensified as puddles formed on empty tennis courts and a playground at the park.

Tom Stroppel, who lives nearby, said he visits the park often, typically in the morning.

“It’s a beautiful place, beautiful neighborhood,” he said. “Somebody must have came from another town and dumped over here.”

He said he was at the park Thursday when he noticed yellow police tape toward the end of his walk.

“It felt weird,” he said. “When I walked in, there was nobody here, except the people I see every day. And then on the way out, I see cop cars. I said, ‘Holy cow.’ ”

With Matthew Chayes

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