Breezy Point body ID'd as missing Queens woman

February 18, 2013 3:18:55 PM PST
Police are investigating after a body found washed up on a beach in Queens was identified as a 24-year-old woman who had been missing since December.

Marisha Cheong was last seen in Jamaica, with her body discovered just a few miles away in Breezy Point.

Authorities say they have now picked up Cheong's boyfriend, 26-year-old Latchman Balkaran, for questioning.

"She didn't deserve this. They threw her away like trash. Leave my baby like she was nothing," Bibi Ali, victim's mother, said.

Her mother is convinced that Marisha's boyfriend had something to do with it.

"I want him to tell me what he did. How did she end up on the beach? He knows. He has to know," she said.

The couple had been together for nearly five years. Latchman Balkaran has told NYPD detectives that he last saw Marisha in bed, sleeping when he left their home on December 19th.

When her body was discovered, her arms and legs had been bound and she was still in her pajamas, according to reports.

Her mother finds that suspicious, and an indication that Marisha didn't leave home on her own.

What's more, Ali says she received text messages from her daughter referring to her as "mom." That was a word that Marisha never used, she said.

"I know in my heart it wasn't her. She don't say 'mom.' She usually say 'mommy.' I know it wasn't her," Ali said.

She's convinced Balkaran sent the text messages to cover his tracks. Neighbors told us Balkaran went door-to-door in the days after Marisha's disappearance looking for surveillance video.

Authorities say there were signs of trauma on her body, but the decomposition was so advanced that it isn't clear if it indicates foul play. Sources also say her hands may have been bound when she went into the water.

Cheong's disappearance touched off months of searching. Her family insisted she hadn't just run away, especially because she left her coat and her iPad behind. The body was wearing only pajamas and one shoe.

The cause of death remains a mystery, and officials say it could take several weeks for the medical examiner to make a determination.

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