The body of a 16-year old Glen Cove girl, Gabriella Gonzales, was discovered in May, dumped in the woods in Maryland. Now five suspects - all affiliated with the notorious criminal gang MS-13 - have been arrested for her murder.
Gonzales had been reported missing by her family in 2019. But police were mystified about her fate, until her body was discovered in Cockneysville, Maryland, dumped in the woods along the rural Merryman Trail near the Loch Raven Reservoir, along the edge of a wooded stream. The Medical Examiner has ruled her death a homicide.
Arrested for murder are Jonathan Pasquera, 19; Edys Rodriguez, 20; Waulter Hernandez, 19; Aseal Gonzalez, 16; and Wilson Constanza, 21. All are either residents of Maryland or some connection there. They are all being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center, without bail.
Police in Maryland have charged that the five are all members of the criminal gang MS-13, and killed Gonzales because of her affiliation with a rival gang. Gonzales knew her killers, and was lured out by them so that they could murder her, according to police.
MS-13 is the shorthand name for the "Mara Salvatrucha" street gang that started in the 1970's in Los Angeles. The gang was founded in the immigrant community from El Salvador, and then spread through the prisons of the United States and then back to El Salvador. There are an estimated 50,000 gang members of MS-13 globally, with 10,000 MS-13 gang members in the United States.
The gang received international attention from a series of brazen and gruesome machete murders - often of young girls - on Long Island. Both President Donald Trump and former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions held public events on Long Island, promising to destroy MS-13.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D-Babylon), former Suffolk District Attorney (now convicted felon) Tom Spota (D-Brookhaven); and former Suffolk Police Chief (now convicted felon) James Burke were widely criticized for ignoring the rise of MS-13 in Suffolk County's Central American neighborhoods. Dozens of Hispanic young women and children have been murdered in Suffolk by MS-13.