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Missing Patchogue woman's body found

Friends and family of Nicole Tessa are consoled

Friends and family of Nicole Tessa are consoled in Patchogue after police found a body in the area, Tuesday. Tessa has been missing since Friday. (Dec. 21, 2010) Credit: James Carbone

Police confirmed that the body of a woman found in Patchogue Tuesday is Nicole Tessa, 31, the woman who went missing over the weekend.

Det. Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky, the commander of the Suffolk Homicide Squad, came out of the police command post on Prince Street, near Tessa's home and the spot where her body was located, at about 9 p.m. to tell reporters that investigators had positively identified Tessa.

A police canine search team was seen scouring the area near Tessa's home throughout the day Tuesday.

Tessa's husband, Joseph Jones, 28, told reporters earlier in the day that he and his newlywed wife had an argument Friday night, that he left the house and that when he returned, she was gone.

Jones said Tessa was last seen Friday night at her home. Suffolk County police said Jones reported Tessa missing on Sunday.

Jones said he and Tessa have been married four months and both are unemployed. Police said Tessa was studying to be a medical assistant. The couple has a 3-year-old son.

Appearing on the verge of tears, Jones said Tuesday that after the argument Friday, he left the home about 11:30 p.m. He said he returned about 2:30 a.m. Saturday and found his wife gone. Jones added that he was unsure how Tessa left. The couple does not own a car.

"Right now, I'm just hoping she comes home," Jones said. "I've called everyone . . . I'm not sleeping. I don't eat. I don't know what to do."

Jones said his mother, who lives with the couple, was home at the time. He said his wife left their son in the care of his mother.

Jones said his wife had gone missing before.

He said that after an argument in November she left for two weeks, staying with a friend in Coram. Jones said he contacted police this time because Tessa left the house without her anti-seizure medicine and her cell phone.

Tessa's twin sister, Jennifer Haffner of Farmingville, said earlier Tuesday she felt "like something bad happened" to her sibling.

Haffner said her sister, who has lupus, has always called her on a regular basis when she has taken off before. Haffner said she last talked to her sister at 11 p.m. Friday and at that time Tessa told her "she was fighting with Joe."

Tessa's family had been distributing a flier offering a reward for information regarding her whereabouts. In it, she was wearing red flannel pajama pants, slippers and a black Windbreaker.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS. All calls are confidential, police said.

With John Valenti

and Zachary R. Dowdy


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