Family members on Friday identified the four victims who were found brutally murdered and dismembered in a Long Island park earlier this week as boys between the ages 16 and 18.
The bodies were discovered in a park at the intersection of Lowell Avenue and Clayton Street in Central Islip on Wednesday morning. Police said the four were repeatedly stabbed and mutilated.
Relatives named the deceased as 16-year-old Justin Llivicura; 18-year-old Jorge Tigre, and cousins Michael Banegas and Jefferson Villalobos, both aged 18.
Tigre’s sister Monica, 20, spoke about her brother’s death to the New York Daily News telling them she thought the notorious MS-13 gang were behind it. She said: ‘He kept his distance from them… I think they set a trap for him.’
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Names of the dead: Michael Banegas (left) and his cousin Jefferson Villalobos (right), both aged 18, were identified by relatives as victims of a quadruple murder in Long Island
Jorge Tigre (left), 18, and Justin Llivicura (right), 16, were said to be among the friends discovered slaughtered in Central Islip Park on Wednesday morning
A police car is parked near the site where four bodies were discovered in Central Islip, Thursday, April 13, 2017
And his mom Bertha Ullaguari, 43, said that Tigre had been trying to steer clear of the crew two high school students were killed in September.
She said: ‘They’ve had been harassing him at school.
‘On Sunday, he told his uncle ‘They keep harassing me.’
Llivicura’s mother, Bianca Zhicat, told ABC 7 New York she believes her son, whom she described as a quiet, non-violent boy, also believes he might have been lured to his death on Tuesday night by a fabricated party invitation.
Family members revealed that one of Llivicura’s limbs and an ear had been chopped off, and the bodies of the other three victims were also dismembered.
Villalobos’ cousin Yensy Fuentes, 20, told NBC 4 New York that the boy had traveled to New York from Pompano, Florida, with his grandmother a week ago to visit family in Brentwood. He would have celebrated his 19th birthday next month.
Fuentes described in graphic detail the state of Villalobos’ body when it was found in the park on a paved footpath Wednesday, revealing that half of his face was missing, and they had to rely on a religious tattoo on his arm to identify him.
Banegas, Villalobos’ cousin, was suffocated with a plastic bag and his face was unrecognizable, according to Fuentes.
Makeshift memorial: Villalobos and Banegas’ loved ones arrived in the park where they were slaughtered to leave bouquets of flowers and crosses in their memory
The cousins’ family members mourned on the spot where their mutilated bodies were found
The female cousin also revealed that the family learned of the killings from a mutual friend who was in the Central Islip park the night of the murders but managed to escape.
The unnamed friend allegedly told Villalobos’ relatives he was with a group of people in the park when he saw men armed with machetes emerge from the trees.
‘The gang members came out and told them to kneel down,’ said Fuentes, ‘and then he was just able to run for his life. He was the only one that made it out.’
Vacationer: Villalobos ad traveled to New York from Pompano, Florida, with his grandmother a week ago to visit family
On Friday, Villalobos and Banegas’ loved ones arrived in the park where they were slaughtered to leave bouquets of flowers and crosses in their memory.
As of this afternoon, Suffolk County police have not officially identified any of the four victims.
‘We are not releasing the date or time they were killed, but these homicides occurred within the past few days. This is one incident,’ Commissioner Tim Sini, Suffolk County Police Department said. ‘He was beaten to death. Brutally. It wasn’t like they shot him and left it. They beat him to death brutally.’
Sini also said that police are investigating whether gang MS-13 were behind the murders.
‘There’s no question MS-13 still exists in Suffolk County,’ Sini said Thursday at a press conference. ‘This is a long-term war and make no mistake about it – it’s a war. It’s all hands on deck until we solve these murders.’
Family members of Tigre and Llivicura said earlier that police had confirmed that their sons were dead.
George’s brother William Tigre, of Bellport, said he’d received a call shortly after the bodies were found from a friend who said he’s seen his brother get murdered, he told ABC News.
William Tigre (;eft) told reporters Thursday that an acquaintance notofied him Wednesday night that his 18-year-old brother, Jorge (right), was one of the victim
Four dead bodies were found in Central Islip Park on Wednesday morning. The victims had suffered ‘significant trauma’. Police were seen working in a wooded area of the park on Thursday (above)
William, 21, told the New York Post that friend, Alex Ruiz, was ‘a member of MS-13.
‘He called me, the friend in MS-13, he called me last night at 6:30 and told me my brother is here,’ William said on Thursday.
He said that he had ‘escaped from the car’ and ‘saw my brother being killed.
‘He told me my brother was here. He gave me this address [to the park].’
William added that he had checked George’s computer and found messages from him that said, ‘I don’t want to do these things anymore. I want out.’
Justin Llidicura’s, 16, family said that detectives are investigating whether he is among the four victims, as a family member said he was last seen on Wednesday heading towards the park. He hasn’t been heard from since.
‘When his parents woke up, he wasn’t at home,’ the relative said. ‘So they called his phone multiple times. He never answered. It just went straight to voicemail. The phone was cut off. That’s when they got worried, because it was almost like a full day.’
Frany Novoa said her 21-year-old son William is also missing although police say the four victims were aged between 16 and 20.
‘They’re kids,’ she said. ‘I don’t know what they’re involved in, who they’re around.’
It comes six months after the discovery of the remains of five other teenagers in the area who police say were murdered by local high school gangs.
Authorities are yet to reveal whether the bodies discovered on Wednesday are linked to the previous youths’ deaths.
There was a large police presence at the park on Thursday morning as authorities continued to investigate
Suffolk Country forensic investigators worked at the park on Thursday morning
Police have been investigating gang violence in the area since the remains of five other teenagers were found in September
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Justin Meyers spoke only to say the bodies found on Wednesday appeared to have suffered ‘significant trauma’.
‘We believe the homicides were committed recently,’ he told Newsday.
In September, the bodies of two teenage girls aged 15 and 16 were found mutilated by machetes in nearby Brentwood.
Nisa Mickens, 15, was found in the street a day before her best friend Kayla Cuevas, 16, whose body was discovered in the backyard of a home.
The pair had both been beaten with bats before they were hacked at with knives.
Nisa’s mother Elizabeth Alvarado described her loss as ‘the worst pain that any mother could feel.’
After discovering their corpses, police bolstered their investigations into gangs in the area. The investigation led them to the discovery of another three teenagers’ remains.
Nisa Mickens, 15, (left) and Kayla Cuevas, 16, (right) were murdered in September in suspected gang murders
The skeletal remains of Oscar Acosta, 19, and Miguel Garcia-Moran, 15, who had been missing for months were found by train tracks while Jose Pena-Hernandez, an 18-year-old who was a well known gang member, was found in woods behind a disused psychiatric facility.
Authorities say he was killed in retaliation for breaking the protocol of a high school gang.
The other four killed were all students at Brentwood High School.
Police have not commented on whether the bodies found on Wednesday could be linked to the earlier murders or if the victims were teenagers or young adults.
Eight members of the gang MS-13 gang were arrested in March for the girls’ members.
But local families say they are still too scared to venture out at night because the gang problem has spiraled out of control in recent years.