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An Anguished HomecomingEl Salvador family

For 30 years, Dora Marroquin wondered how New York, so

glittery and full of promises, had swallowed her sister and swept away all

evidence of her existence.

On Monday night, Marroquin, traveling from El Salvador, landed at Kennedy

Airport to claim her sister's body and take her to be buried in her homeland.

Hempstead Funeral Home, which is donating the transportation and burial costs,

said Reyna Angelica Marroquin's body would be flown back to El Salvador on


"My mother has been filled with anguish for 30 years," Dora Marroquin said

yesterday of 94-year-old Ercilia Marroquin. "She spends her days crying. She is

very sick. The news of her daughter's death had a great impact on her. She

wants her daughter back home before she dies."

Yesterday, Patricia Maza-Pittsford, the Salvadoran general consul, handed

authorization from the Marroquin family to the Hempstead funeral home for it to

take charge of the body for shipment, said Arthur Sonnick, a funeral director.

Almost two months have passed since Nassau police extracted the remains of

Reyna Marroquin Sept. 3 from a barrel that had been sitting in a crawl space

beneath a house on Forest Drive in Jericho for 30 years. Police identified her

Sept. 29.

Howard Elkins, 70, whom police believe was also her lover shot himself to death

in Boca Raton in September after Nassau homicide detectives questioned him

about the body found under his former home.

Police say they believe Elkins killed Marroquin in 1969 with a blow to the back

of her head after Marroquin had called his wife to disclose their affair.

Dora Marroquin said her sister, who was 28 when she died, was a vibrant and

beautiful young woman, full of hope for the future, sending money back home

from the job she held as a worker in a plastics factory in Manhattan.

Old pictures show Reyna Marroquin in New York, smiling with friends, dressed up

for a wedding, out for a walk in Manhattan.

From one week to the next, Marroquin's letters and phone calls to her family in

El Salvador ceased. At first her family was angry at her, then they worried.

Hope never allowed them to mourn. But in September, news reached the town of

San Martin, about 10 miles north of San Salvador, that police in New York had

found her body.

At the request of her mother, Dora Marroquin borrowed money from relatives and

bought a plane ticket to New York to expedite the release of the body. When she

arrived, she learned that arrangements had already been made to fly her

sister's body back Sunday.

"I've had a great stroke of luck," Dora Marroquin said. "God is smiling on us."

Dora Marroquin lived in Los Angeles until September, when she moved back to El

Salvador to care for her mother.

With pictures and letters Reyna had sent them from New York, Dora and her

mother had plenty to spark memories.

In one of the letters, written in June, 1967, she apologized to her mother for

changing addresses so much, citing the tough immigrant life in New York.

"I pay 13 dollars a week to live in a house full of women from all over the

world," she wrote, referring to the St. Jean D'Arc residence for women in

Manhattan, where she lived for almost two years.

"I make $55 a week, but I don't have much money now because I spent it all on

clothes ... I'm sending you $40 now, and I promise that I'll start sending


In January, 1967, she sent her regards to her ex-husband and promised to send

her sisters gifts, "especially underwear."

"Mom, don't worry about me, God is taking care of me," she wrote. "Every Sunday

I go to mass like you taught me ... much kisses and tight hugs, take care,


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