Police believe a body found hanged in a wooded area of Sagaponack yesterday morning is that of a mother of two, missing since Oct. 10, an attorney for her husband said.
Southampton attorney Colin Astarita said a hunter called police after finding the body about 7:30 a.m. in woods between Sprig Tree Path and Toppings Path near the home of the missing woman, Lilia Aucapina, 40.
Astarita said Southampton Town police preliminarily identified the body as Aucapina's. An official identification using dental records is expected in coming days, he said.
Southampton police Sgt. Michael Burns confirmed the body's discovery but said it had not been officially identified.
Astarita said police were investigating the possibility of suicide. Burns said detectives were probing the cause of death but declined to characterize the investigation.
Aucapina's brother, Victor Parra, said Saturday that police believe they have found his sister's body. He declined to comment further.
Police had searched the same woods with dogs the week after the disappearance, but thicker foliage at the time may have obscured the body, Astarita said.
"Based on the time of year, with the foliage, she was in an area where she was very difficult to see last month," he said.
Aucapina, a native of Ecuador, had been the subject of intense searches by police and appeals by her family, who distributed fliers and repeatedly asked the public for help in finding her.
Police said she was last seen walking west on Montauk Highway in Wainscott the morning of Oct. 10 after a confrontation with her brother and her estranged husband in the parking lot of the Meeting House Lane Medical Practice.
Astarita said Aucapina's brother and husband saw her walking with a man they were not familiar with, leading to a tense conversation in the parking lot. "I think there may have been an emotional content to that meeting," Astarita said.
Aucapina's husband, Carlos Aucapina, 50, was arrested shortly after her disappearance and charged with violating an order of protection his wife had obtained. Astarita said police questioned the husband in his wife's disappearance but he maintained his innocence.
Lilia Aucapina texted her son, 21, and daughter, 14, the day she disappeared, the attorney said, with a message in Spanish that said something to the effect of "Remember that Mommy always loves you."
Aucapina was involved in her church and showed no signs of depression, the attorney said.
"She had a happy life and a very big family," he said.