2 Charged in Gruesome Murder and Body Parts Dump at Local Parks

2 Charged in Gruesome Murder and Body Parts Dump at Local Parks
by David Greene

Police have apparently solved the mystery of human remains discovered inside two local parks and the disappearance and murder of a young woman.

Police were first called to Crotona Park at just after 2 p.m., on Friday, August 24, for a report of a “suspicious package” at Crotona Park South and Franklin Street. One source close to the investigation reported a torso and head were found in separate garbage bags.

Seeking the public’s help in identifying the young woman, the following day the NYPD released a composite sketch of the victim, as three more bags containing human remains were discovered under the pier at Barretto Point Park in the Hunts Point section.

Also Tuesday the medical examiner ruled the case a homicide and officials were able to quickly identify the victim as Lisa Marie Velasquez, 25, of East 156 Street in the Melrose section.

Cops would soon announce the arrests of Daquan Wheeler, 31, and his girlfriend Ciara Martinez, 30. Investigators believe Martinez sought the help of Velasquez from the abusive Wheeler, when Velasquez went to the apartment and confronted Wheeler–who beat her to death with a hammer inside the couple’s home in Longwood.

Police say Wheeler, with Martinez’ assistance, chopped up Velasquez’ body and dumped the parts in Crotona and Baretto Point Park where they were discovered.

Martinez claimed Wheeler threatened to kill her if she didn’t assist in the dismembering and disposing of her best friend, both were charged with murder, manslaughter, evidence tampering and criminal possession of a weapon.

Parks Department worker’s clean Baretto Point Park as police continue to investigate the human remains dumped at the park.–Photo by David Greene

In similar, yet unrelated cases, in May 2006 police charged and later convicted one-time butcher Victor Gonzalez, 44, dubbed by local media as “The Butcher of Longwood” with killing his boss Wifredo Pinto, Jr., 35, with a hammer inside the victims basement apartment on Kelly Street and scattering the remains in garbage bags, and left on the street around the neighborhood.

However, in 2014 the New York State Court of Appeals tossed out the jury’s verdict because the Bronx District Attorney failed to file a charge of manslaughter, giving the jury the opportunity to contemplate Gonzalez’ mental state at the time of the killing. Fellow worker’s testified that Pinto was an extremely abusive boss.

A Facebook photo of Lisa Marie Velasquez, 25, who was killed with a hammer and dismembered before being dumped in Crotona and Baretto Point Park.

In February, 2007, police in Montenegro arrested Smalije Tulja, 67, who was charged in the 1990 murder of Norwood resident Mary Beal, who’s torso, legs and arms were discovered in garbage bags dumped at several locations under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Tulja is also the prime suspect in five similar homicides of women in Belgium and two others in Albania, where the bodies were left in bags along the roadside.

In February, 2013 Bahsid McLean, 23, was charged with killing his mother Tanya Byrd, 45, and chopping up her body, before getting his friend William Harris, 26, to help dump bags of Byrd’s remains with the neighborhood trash. Before his arrest McLean poised for a “selfie” with his mother’s head that was later introduced as evidence at the trial.

McLean was convicted and currently serving a 25 years-to-life sentence for his unthinkable act of debauchery.

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