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Long IslandCrime

Police: Georgia man arrested in LI native’s slaying

Former Riverhead Town Board member Timothy F. Buckley

Former Riverhead Town Board member Timothy F. Buckley is shown in Riverhead on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Georgia man has been arrested and charged in the killing of former Riverhead Town Board member and Police Officer Tim Buckley, whose body was found last week in a wooded lot in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, police said.

News agencies, including The Associated Press, reported that police in Horry County, South Carolina, are awaiting extradition of Johnathan Lamar Hillary, 29, of Augusta following his arrest this week in Atlanta.

Police said Hillary will be charged with murder and with possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Bernithia Young, 33, of Atlanta, who was also arrested and is awaiting extradition, is expected to be charged as an accessory after the fact, police said, according to media reports.

Police have not detailed the link between Hillary and Young and Buckley, 51, of Myrtle Beach. Buckley, last seen on Sept. 28, was reported missing on Sept. 30. His body was found Nov. 10.

A native of Wading River, Buckley was named Riverhead Town police officer of the year in 2005. He was elected to the town board in 2007 but resigned in March 2009 to care of his ill wife, Ruth.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday that he couldn’t comment on the arrests, but added, “I’m praying for the family and hoping that they find some peace.”

Barbara Blass, a former Riverhead Town Councilwoman who served with Buckley on the board, remembered her former colleague as a good man who was “extremely devoted to his family.”

“He was really very hardworking, very respectful, great sense of humor,” Blass said Friday.

Blass said hearing the news last week that Buckley’s remains had been found was “very shocking, devastating. We were troubled to hear he was missing, and we hoped for the best. It was disturbing.”

Buckley left Long Island and moved south in 2011, according to reports. Police have not released details of his cause of death.

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