Girl’s Burned Body Found in Viola Park in Monsey


manny-weldler-park-viola-parkJane Lerner and Steve Lieberman report: The charred body of a female was found in Manny Weldler Park – otherwise known as Viola Park – early this morning in the second apparent homicide in Rockland in three days.

At a press conference this afternoon, police said the medical examiner is trying to determine cause of death and using dental records to investigate identity. Police earlier Monday had said the female was a teenager but at the press conference backed off from that determination in lieu of the medical examiners findings.

The park is located in the heart of a frum neighborhood of Monsey, NY.

Investigators are tracking down missing person reports throughout the region and enlisting the help of other police agencies, authorities said.

Police and firefighters were called to the town of  Ramapo park at 5:30 a.m. to investigate a report of a fire and discovered the burning body, said Ramapo police Lt. Brad Weidel.

Police don’t know if the victim was killed in the park or elsewhere but went to lengths at the press conference to assure the public that the park was safe and crime was not committed against a random parkgoer.

Police are searching the town park located off West Maple Avenue for clues. Investigators were also sifting through snow banks near homes on Thomas Court, adjacent to the park, for evidence.

Neighbor Deenie Susskind said she saw investigators pick up an object – possibly a shoe – that appeared to be bloody.

“I’m horrified,” she said as she stood outside near the park, holding the hand of her young son. She said she often takes her children to the park to play.

But she said she won’t do that anymore until police find the person who committed the crime.

The victim’s body was on the ground in the parking lot near the entrance to the park. Police covered it with a yellow tarp.

When the tarp was removed briefly, a small, charred body could be seen.

Investigators from Ramapo, Spring Valley, the Rockland Sheriff’s Department and police dogs from Suffern and Clarkstown were in the park searching for evidence. An assistant district attorney from the Rockland District Attorney’s office was also at the crime scene.

Investigators fanned out through the park, passing the tennis courts and ballfields to look for clues. Investigators could also be seen searching through trash bins and shoveling mounds of snow and dirt.

Police cordoned off the park with yellow crime scene tape. Curious onlookers were turned away by police at the entrance to the park, formerly Viola Park, which was renamed in 1994 for a former Ramapo town board member.

“People can feel very safe using the park,” said Lawrence. “I have great confidence in our detective force and police department and I appreciate all the help from the county Sherriff’s Department, Spring Valley, Suffern, Clarkstown and everyone else.”

The girl’s death was the second homicide in Ramapo.

 {The Journal News/ Newscenter}


  1. Hashem yerachem oy veh.
    How sad, and how horrible.
    what can we say. Jews and non Jews alike have to try to notice if their neighbors are abusing their children, who can grow up to do something like that. We all have to find ways to help, this is just beyond words.

  2. “Jews and non Jews alike have to try to notice if their neighbors are abusing their children, who can grow up to do something like that.”

    Spoiling children can have the same consequences. Time to recognize that.

  3. wow, im petrified! Thats it, i am not letting my daughters hang out in viola park at 530 am anymore by themselves! because thats obviously what happened…

  4. The girl was reportedly an 18 year old african american or hispanic with a tatoo that said “Patricia”, this according to the Journal News.