HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — Investigators were awaiting a medical examiner's report to determine if what appears to be a human head and other body parts found in the bushes outside a home are linked to a partially dismembered body discovered weeks earlier in a community 25 miles away.
A law enforcement official familiar with the case said Friday it appears the dismembered body is likely that of a Brooklyn woman reported missing earlier this month. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to release the information.
The official said a tattoo on the torso of the body found July 8 in a municipal parking lot in Bay Shore matches one worn by Chinelle Latoya Browne, 27.
Police in New York City and Suffolk County confirmed they are working together on the missing person investigation involving Browne. However, Suffolk police said they have not been able to definitively confirm that the dismembered body is the missing woman.
Browne, who lives in the Brownsville section, was reported missing by her sister. Numerous media reports say Browne is a Guyanese native who had lived in New York for about a year. Her husband, Dale Browne, told the Daily News from his home in Guyana that the mother of four children worked at a department store in Manhattan.
He said he planned to move to the New York with their children after he got his paperwork completed.
The discovery Thursday of the suspected human head in a yard in Hempstead — 25 miles west of Bay Shore — was the latest in a series of gruesome finds in that community. On July 9, a resident reported finding an arm in his yard; the following day, a second arm was found in another yard about a half mile away.
The homeowner where the head was found said Friday that it may have been there for more than a week. The discovery was made by neighbors.
"I found out they discovered the head right there in my bushes in a plastic bag," Dorothy Robinson said. "It's just unbelievable that you would think something like that would happen in your neighborhood."
The discovery of the woman's dismembered body in Bay Shore evoked memories of the still-unsolved homicide investigations of 10 bodies found along a beach highway south of Bay Shore in 2010 and 2011. Suffolk County police returned to the highway area after the Bay Shore discovery this month, but did not report any additional discoveries.
"I am religious and I said a prayer to God please give the family the strength to deal with the situation if that is the same lady with the four kids from Brooklyn," Robinson said. "I just feel so bad for the family, so I said please God just bless them."
Pearson reported from New York City.