A chilling murder rocked a Central Islip, New York community on Wednesday night (April 12) when police officials discovered the mutilated bodies of four teenagers in a park, the New York Times reports.
Authorities identified the teens as Jorge Tigre, 18, Justin Llivicura, 16, and 18-year-old cousins Jefferson Villalobos and Michael Banegas. ABC News notes that the relatives’ purpose in the park was to meet up with friends. Upon their arrival, the site states a group of unidentified people attacked them with machetes. A search for the suspects is still ongoing.
Suffolk County police commissioner, Timothy Sini, said each teen “suffered from significant trauma throughout their body. It appears that they were killed with a sharp or edged instrument.” Sini also believes their deaths came at the hands of MS-13 members, a gang with roots that stretch to Los Angeles and El Salvador. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently spoke on the gang’s growing presence in the U.S., stating that the group could be classified as a terrorist organization.
In September 2016, two 16-year-old girls were beaten to death in what authorities believe was a related MS-13 incident. CBS points out that three teen boys’ bodies were also found in the woods in Suffolk County shortly thereafter.
“MS-13, part of their trademark throughout the country not just here, is to prey on recent immigrants,” Sini said. “Part of that is because many times recent immigrant families are in vulnerable positions.”
Suffolk County police continue to work alongside the FBI to solve these murders.