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Cops seek clues in deaths of woman, toddler in woods

The woods at Pinewood Avenue in Central Islip

The woods at Pinewood Avenue in Central Islip where the bodies of Vanessa Argueta, 19, and her 2-year-old son, Diego Torres, both of Hempstead, were discovered Friday. (Feb. 6, 2010) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Police are seeking help from the public to find the identities of a young woman and a toddler found shot to death in a wooded strip in Central Islip early Friday.

PHOTOS: See images from the crime scene in Central Islip

Detectives said the bodies of the woman - believed to be in her late teens or early 20s - and a boy either 1 or 2 years old, were found around 7 a.m. Friday near Connetquot Avenue and Windsor Place.

The victims were shot on site sometime after 4:30 p.m. Thursday, police believe.

"We're obviously looking for someone to tell us who they are or who they may be," said Det. Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky, head of the homicide squad, adding someone who works in the area found the bodies at about 7 a.m.

Pelkofsky said the woman was slim and had long, dark hair. She was wearing blue jeans, a white top and a red hooded sweatshirt with the word "Apple Bottoms" across the chest and down one sleeve. She also wore large, silver heart-shaped earrings, a silver belt and silver slip-on shoes without socks.

The boy was wearing high-top Jordan sneakers, a red and black hooded Timberland jacket with fur around its hood, blue jeans designed by Sesame Street 123.

The bodies were found in an industrial area of Central Islip, near the loading docks of several businesses, including Raymour & Flanigan, Scientific Games and Freeport Paper.

Residents in the neighborhood said Friday morning they were shocked, describing their neighborhood as very quiet, but somewhat desolate where the bodies were discovered.

Elian Maldonado, 40, a truck driver who lives on Pinewood Avenue, said he noticed something unusual Thursday night: A young woman walking along the edge of the woods. People seldom walk in that area, he said.

"When I got home from work, I told my wife it was strange because I saw a girl in a hooded white jacket," said Maldonado, who has lived on the street for 15 years. He said the person appeared to be about 18 to 20 years old.

Dennis Millito, who has lived on the block for 20 years, said the area is poorly lit at night and largely deserted except for the rumble of passing trucks.

"It's terrible," he said. "On that strip right down by my house, truck drivers dump garbage here, but I've never seen anything like this. I'm shocked."

With John Valenti

and Gary Dymski

PHOTOS: See images from the crime scene in Central Islip

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