Body found on rooftop in Flushing

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The porter of the Harwyn at 143-40 41 Ave. found the body on the roof of the seven-story building at about 8 a.m., neighbors...

By Alexander Dworkowitz

A decomposed body of a woman was discovered on the roof of a Flushing apartment building last Thursday morning, police said.

The porter of the Harwyn at 143-40 41 Ave. found the body on the roof of the seven-story building at about 8 a.m., neighbors said.

The porter told the building’s super, Jose Correa, about the body, and Correa phoned the authorities.

“Her identity hasn’t been positively made,” said Detective Boreshesky of the 109th Precinct. “We don’t even know if it’s a murder or not.”

Boreshesky said the body had been on the roof for “less than a week, more than a day,” although he said he did not know how the body had made it to the top of the roof.

The detective added that the body had decomposed to the point he could not accurately describe the woman’s race or age.

Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner’s office, said a cause of death had yet to be determined.

Diana Petrone, who lives in an apartment building across the street from the Harwyn, said two detectives came by her home last Thursday evening.

“They had asked me if I had heard what happened, and I said I had not,” Petrone said.

Petrone said the detectives showed her a picture from a newspaper clipping of a young woman with long, dark hair and told her that the woman in the photograph had been found on the roof.

Petrone told the detectives she had never seen the woman before.

“I said, “Did she live in this area?’” Petrone said. “And they said no, she didn’t come from this area.”

Last Thursday’s incident marked the second time in a month that a woman’s body was found in mysterious circumstances in Flushing.

On July 5, police and firefighters found a minivan ablaze on the corner of Higgins Street and 32nd Avenue shortly after 1 a.m.

After the fire was put out, the body of a woman was discovered inside the van. Police described the woman as about 5-foot-one, 112 pounds and in her 20s or 30s, and of undetermined race.

The corner of Higgins and 32nd Avenue is an industrial section of Flushing where police have made dozens of prostitution arrests in recent months.

Police continued to investigate both cases.

Matthew Nam, who was in the process of moving out of the Harwyn the day the body was found on the roof, said he had few problems in the building.

“I’ve never seen any violence,” he said.

Nam added that he thought some of the building’s residents could be members of Asian gangs.

“When you look at some people, they look like gangs when you look at them in eye,” he said.

Martha Flores Vazquez, a Democratic candidate for district leader and president of the tenants council of the Harwyn, was disturbed when she learned of the body’s discovery.

“I was crying earlier on,” she said. “Just the idea that was a naked female. That could have been me.”

Vazquez described the building as safe, although she said she had been robbed there years ago.

“Everybody’s scared,” she said, noting that women were in the lobby the night after the body was found waiting for people to escort them upstairs.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.

Updated 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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