A volunteer cleanup crew discovered a human jawbone while bagging garbage in Floyd Bennett Field earlier this year, which the city’s Chief Medical Examiner recently tied to a decomposing body recovered from the Mill Basin park in 2016.
The members of a South Caroline-based environmental group were picking up garbage and flotsam that had washed up over by the Raptor Point area of the national park in May when one member spotted the mandible at the water’s edge during low tide, according to the group’s chief do-gooder.
“It was at the edge of the water, and it was just sitting there,” said Rudy Socha, chief executive officer of Wounded Nature. “There was no dirt on it, no mud — nothing.”
Police collected the jaw bone and handed the appendage off to the Medical Examiner’s Office, which ran DNA tests that concluded earlier this week that the mandible belonged to a woman, whose badly decomposing body was discovered along the coast of Jamaica Bay nearly three years ago, a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner’s office confirmed.
The woman’s fingers were too rotten to obtain usable fingerprints, but police attempted to use her distinctive tattoos that were still visible, including a panther with claws on her lower abdomen, lips with a hypodermic needle piercing them on the back of her left shoulder, and a large, black cross on her right ring figure, to identify the body.
But investigators haven’t had any luck and the identity of the putrefied corpse remains a mystery to this day, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, which described her as between 22 and 33 years old and about 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighing 95 pounds.
The good Samaritans at Wounded Nature routinely clean seaside areas up and down the East Coast, but Socha claims he’s never found anything so grim.
“This is the first body part we’ve found,” Socha said.
If you have any information that can lead to identifying this woman, please call the NYPD Missing Persons Squad at 212-694-7781.
— Additional reporting by Colin Mixson