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Human remains raise fear for mother over missing son

Lilian Oliva speaks about her missing son Kerin

Lilian Oliva speaks about her missing son Kerin Pineda from her Freeport home on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Oliva said her son vanished in May 2016 and she thinks he may be the body found Thursday in a wooded area on the Baldwin-Roosevelt border. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

As Nassau County police continue to scour a wooded area on the Roosevelt-Baldwin border for more human remains, a mother from Freeport fears the worst about her missing son.

Lilian Oliva, 38, hasn’t seen her son, Kerin Pineda, 20, since he went missing more than a year ago.

The Honduran grandmother thinks her son suffered the same fate as several young people who were killed at the hands of the murderous transnational gang MS-13.

Although county officials have not identified the remains discovered Thursday, Oliva says her hope that her son will come home is gone.

“I always had the hope that maybe he was just abducted and he was still alive. I always prayed that he would show up. But after all this time, not a phone call, no message,” Oliva said from her Freeport home. “If he’s dead, then it was God’s will that this happen. It’s not easy to lose a son.”

Nassau police have been searching the approximately 27-acre site that contains rugged terrain, overgrown vegetation and a lake.

Inside the preserve, officials said they found what looks to be a grave site. They found the remains of a man but have not yet identified him, police said.

Police officials said they had not found other remains.

Oliva said she fears the remains could be that of her son, who went missing in May 2016.

Two weeks before she last saw him, Oliva said a group, who she suspected may have been MS-13 members, harassed her son over his Nike sneakers.

But on the night Pineda disappeared, Oliva said he told her he was going out to meet a woman near the south pond of Hempstead State Park.

She never saw him again.

The mother of five went to the police after he didn’t come home that night.

“My son would never stay out too late. He only went out with his friends and played soccer,” Oliva said. “He was a good boy. Very loving. He would always put his arm around me.”

Oliva watched closely as word of the discovery broke Thursday.

Acting Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Thursday, the day the search began, that Homeland Security Investigations had received information Wednesday night from a “person of interest” about the possibility of human remains in the area.

Sources have said investigators were looking for the body of a possible victim of gang violence.

Ryder said he could not say whether the search was linked to MS-13 gang violence or any active missing-persons cases in the county.

Oliva, who said she was seeking asylum for her other four children, said there is a chance the remains belong to her son.

“Now I’m in this prison of not knowing what happened to him,” Oliva said. “However I can find him, I want him. He’s always in my heart.”

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