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Man's remains found wrapped in discarded couch in Brooklyn

Slash marks in a shirt found near a human skeleton recovered Saturday along the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn indicate that the victim may have been stabbed in the chest, officials said Monday.

The bones were discovered in a sofa Saturday afternoon by a city cleanup crew working in the weeds near the Flatbush Avenue exit. The workers had placed the discarded sofa in their truck and had activated a crushing device when the top of the skull suddenly popped out, leading to the discovery of more remains, a police spokeswoman said.

A forensic anthropologist with the city medical examiner's office is examining the bones but a preliminary investigation indicates the victim was a man between 30 and 35 years old, the spokeswoman said. The bones had sustained bleaching through exposure to the elements, a finding that has prompted investigators to believe that death occurred about a year ago, the spokeswoman said.

The anthropologist will try to determine the race of the victim and whether the bones give any indication of the cause of death.

According to police, the skeleton was wrapped in a blanket which had been taped closed and placed within the sofa. Also found with the remains was a medical syringe, police said.

As part of the investigation, police are going through missing-persons reports from at least a year ago to come up with cases in which a man fit the physical characteristics of the bones so that further comparisons can be made, the police spokeswoman said.

The area around the Belt Parkway contains wetlands areas; historically, police have found other bodies and human remains in the area, particularly in the cases of mob killings.

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