Wake held for Joey Comunale, Connecticut man murdered on Upper East Side

STAMFORD, Connecticut (WABC) -- Family and friends gathered Tuesday in Stamford to mourn a man found dead in New Jersey after disappearing in Manhattan.

A viewing was held for 26-year-old Joseph Comunale, who authorities say was fatally stabbed at a party on the Upper East Side.

The wake was held at the Lacerenza Funeral Home.

"A wonderful young man, brought up by a good family, gone way too soon in such a horrible way," aunt Lucy Weizenecker said. "It shouldn't happen to anybody, but especially him."

Comunale disappeared after a night of partying, and his body was later found along the Jersey Shore. Two men, James Rackover and Lawrence Dilione, are charged in connection with his death, but so far, neither has directly been charged with murder as investigators work to determine who was ultimately responsible for the crime. Both suspects have been uncooperative with authorities and are being held on $3 million bail.

Police say Comunale was stabbed 15 times and his body burned before he was found buried in a shallow grave. The party was at Rackover's home, and the 25-year-old originally from Florida reportedly has numerous arrests under his birth name, James Arthur Bodin.

Comunale's parents entered the funeral home early, carrying pictures of their son. It began a day-long event as wave after wave of mourners streamed into the building.

"I know he's not going to be forgotten," family friend Thomas Masone said. "It's a tragedy you will never forget."

Besides the flowers, one arrangement on display depicts a New York Rangers jersey with Camunale's name on it. The Hofstra grad was a standout hockey and baseball player. Jim Maple was his coach.

"He was a great kid, a really quiet kid, never really bothered anybody," he said. "I never had a problem with him at all. So right now, I just feel bad for the family."

A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Leo's Church in Stamford.
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