The 39-year-old ex-wife of fallen Nassau police Officer Joseph Olivieri was found dead in her Centereach home last night, a source said, the same day her ex-husband had been buried.

The cause of death was not immediately known last night.

Suffolk homicide detectives had been at the Robert Drive home of Christine Bregante earlier in the day in what was termed a "noncriminal" matter, police said. Neighbors described large numbers of police cars visiting the home, clearing out as evening fell.

Olivieri was killed last week when he was struck by a sport utility vehicle after a predawn wreck on the Long Island Expressway. At the time, he was assisting a driver later charged in the officer's death. His funeral was held in Ronkonkoma Monday and he was then buried.

Olivieri had two children from another marriage.

A man who answered the door at Bregante's home said he had no comment.

But a neighbor who did not want to be identified said Bregante had lived in the basement of the two-story home for about three months.

"She's a tenant, she rented a downstairs apartment," the neighbor said.

She said Bregante's boyfriend found her body Monday afternoon and notified police.

With Matthew Chayes, Zachary R. Dowdy

and Bill Mason

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