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Tentative ID of woman dead outside Massapequa home

A woman found dead outside a Sandy-damaged house in Massapequa was tentatively identified Friday as detectives continued seeking dental records and other confirmation, Nassau police said.

The name of the woman, who had brown hair and appeared to be in her 50s or 60s, and cause of death were not released, pending results of toxicology tests and investigative efforts late in the day.

The autopsy did not reveal any apparent trauma to the woman, discovered Thursday at 27 Ocean Ave. by contractors working next door, said homicide Det. Sgt James Skopek.

Fingerprints could not be obtained due to decomposition, he said, and two teams of detectives were working early Thursday evening to find more proof of her identity.

That included not just getting dental records but going to her apartment in Nassau, police said.

"We'll get her DNA sample, we'll go to her apartment, grab DNA and try to match up DNA," Skopek said.

But detectives still have another mystery -- what she was doing at the house, whose back looks onto the South Oyster Bay and was sheared off during Sandy. A neighbor said the house, covered with boards and tarp, had been a recent estate sale.

Some in the neighborhood speculated the woman was a squatter, but Skopek disagreed.

"I'm not going with that theory," he said. "There's no heat, there's nothing going on in that house. It was completely, from the other side, boarded up, so it wasn't easy to gain access."

It's been challenging finding answers, the detective said, because a lot of the homes nearby remain vacant post Sandy, including the houses adjoining the one in question.

Skopek said he saw high school students get out of a bus nearby, an indication that people have walked by the house, but no one had seen the body until the sound of water spilling from the house attracted contractors working next door.

Chest-high or so hedges bordered the front yard, and 4 feet from them was the body, lying under an overhang of the house, the detective sergeant said. The woman was wearing a dark-colored, three-quarter-length coat and dark pants and shirt, he said.

"We're going back to that neighborhood," Skopek said. "Hopefully, we can dig up something. Maybe somebody had a home video there or surveillance camera."

Residents on the street had called each other Thursday to figure out who had died, said a woman who lives near the house where the body was found.

"None of the neighbors seem to be among the missing," the woman, who asked not to be named, said on Thursday.

She said the home's owner had died last year and the heirs had recently sold the house. A "Sold" sign had been slapped on the for-sale sign outside.

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