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Police believe cold-case remains were those of homicide victim

The remains, from 40 years ago, were found earlier this week buried in a Queens backyard, police said.

Police believe human remains discovered earlier this week in Richmond Hill, Queens, are those of a homicide victim from 40 years ago, they said Thursday.

 Acting on a tip from a woman who recalled a childhood memory about a body being buried four decades ago in a backyard of a home on 115th Street, police on Tuesday discovered a partial human skeleton buried in black plastic bags. 

 In a briefing, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said police brought in cadaver dogs that hit on remains at the exact spot where the woman remembered the body had been buried.

 “The murder allegedly took place at a location, possibly connected to a barbershop in Queens we have not been able to locate,” Shea said.

While the case officially has not been ruled a homicide, pending further examination by the city medical examiner, the woman reported that a killing did take place, Shea explained.

 “We do have partial remains — bones, if you will — and we believe they are human remains,” he added.

 Shea said the examination of the bones has yet to determine the exact cause of death but that he was convinced the case was a homicide. Detectives are still conducting interviews and have also traveled out of state to continue the investigation, officials said. 

A law enforcement official who didn’t want to be identified said the current occupants of the property are not involved in the case. The woman who talked to police reported enough information for investigators to believe that the victim was killed by someone connected to a barbershop, dismembered and buried, the official said.

“She did provide some information and that remains part of the investigation,” Shea said of the woman, who he said came forward with a repressed memory.


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