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Police ask for help in cold-case murder of Brentwood woman

The remains of Tina Foglia, 19, right, were

The remains of Tina Foglia, 19, right, were found Feb. 3, 1982, on the shoulder of a ramp, left, leading from the Southern State Parkway, State Police said. Credit: NYSP

Her body was found in plastic bags alongside an exit ramp from the Southern State Parkway to the Sagtikos State Parkway in North Bay Shore on an unseasonably warm February day in 1982. The victim, later identified as Tina Foglia, of Brentwood, was just 19.

Thirty-five years later, State Police investigators are still trying to find her killer.

The unsolved murder is the subject this week of a statewide initiative by State Police called “Cold Case Tuesday.” Police are asking anyone who might know about the case to call investigators.

The Brentwood woman was last seen leaving Hammerheads, a 1980s hangout on Sunrise Highway in West Islip where locals met to see hot Long Island-metro area bands like Twisted Sister, Blue Öyster Cult, Zebra and even the Ramones.

That was around 3 a.m. Feb. 1, police said. The temperature was hovering around 50 degrees, with fog and a light rain. The victim’s family told police that Foglia had gone to Hammerheads to see Equinox, a Queens band.

Investigators said the 5-foot-2, 185-pound Foglia often hitchhiked and likely did that night. Maybe, police said, she caught a ride with her killer.

Her family reported Foglia missing on Feb. 3, 1982.

Later that afternoon, state highway workers picked up the bags containing her dismembered body alongside the exit ramp from the westbound Southern State to the northbound Sagtikos.

In the years since, police said they’ve pursued hundreds of leads, interviewing friends, family and acquaintances and anyone else who might have known or seen Foglia.

Not long after, Suffolk County police tried to link the case to a Sayville man who had been charged in the 1981 murder of a local female bartender — and who detectives said was a suspect in six murders, including that of Foglia. That suspect, Timothy O’Toole, was convicted in 1983 of second-degree murder in the shooting death of the bartender, Patricia Finn, 31.

The conviction was overturned on appeal, and O’Toole, then 34, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the case in 1989. O’Toole was paroled in 1993, according to state prison records, and died when he was 62.

Any leads investigators chased between him and the killing of Tina Foglia ultimately went nowhere.

Police said Foglia, who had dark, shoulder-length hair and brown eyes, was last seen wearing a white, waist-length hooded jacket, black slacks and brown suede shoes. The clothing was never recovered.

A story from the Newsday archives said that “a source close to” the initial investigation had confided that Foglia’s limbs were severed “cleanly,” as if with a butcher’s knife. Michael Baden, then chief deputy medical examiner for Suffolk, said that Foglia had died as a result of asphyxia by smothering.

Police also examined possible links to city-based suspects, since the band that night was from Queens — drawing many New York City fans to the show.

Police did not immediately comment on the cold case Tuesday. But investigators are asking anyone with information about the unsolved murder to call them at 631-756-3300.

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