BAY SHORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Suffolk County Police are searching for clues after the body of an accomplished singer was found dumped by a trash container last week.
As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, Saundra Simonee’s body was found in the parking lot of The Birches apartment complex in Bay Shore around 9:15 Friday morning.
The 59-year-old was a singer, teacher, mother and grandmother.
“My hero, she helped make me what I am today. It’s just shocking,” the victim’s niece, C’vonne Smith, told Gusoff.
Simonee’s niece said she’s devastated that her aunt’s body was found wrapped in a pink blanket behind a dumpster Friday morning at an apartment complex 26 miles from her East Norwich home.
Relatives said she lived for decades on Long Island’s north shore and had no connection to the south shore town.
“She wouldn’t be in Bay Shore for any reason,” Smith said.
Members of her music community are in shock. Simonee was described as a talented soprano who graced the stage at Long Island performances and taught cosmetology.
She had just earned a doctorate degree in education.
Her voice served as an inspiration to church goers at St. Dominic in Oyster Bay and at St. Pius in Plainview.
Her coach and accompanist was too shaken to speak on camera but told CBS 2, “Saundra was blessed with a beautiful voice, she was an elegant woman with great values.”
Simonee had two grown children who she raised on her own.
Neighbors are struggling to understand who would want to do her harm.
“She had a beautiful voice and it’s a shame,” neighbor Judy O’Neil told Gusoff.
“Very nice and it’s just a tragedy,” neighbor Paul Donnelly said.
An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of Simonee’s death.
Suffolk Police have not made any arrests in the case.
Anyone with information on the case was asked to call the Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad, at (631) 852-6392, or place an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers at (800) 220-TIPS.
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