MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two men are charged with murder in the death of a man whose body was found in a popular Massapequa park earlier this year.
Families in the area have been unnerved since the cut and battered body of 19-year-old Julio Cesar Gonzales-Espantzay of Valley Stream was found in the 432-acre preserve on March 23, and was identified weeks later.
Carlos Portillo, 22, of Hempstead, and Kevin Granados-Coreas, 19, of Rosedale, Queens, are now charged with second-degree murder.
“Kevin Granados befriended our victim in late 2016 around the holidays. On January 28, he lured him into a vehicle with others with the promise of marijuana and sexual favors,” Nassau County Police Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said. “They then took him to the Massapequa Preserve, where they brutally attacked him with large knives, or machetes, and subsequently killed him there.”
The McKnight tell CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan they’re always together whenever they go for a jog in the preserve.
“This beautiful park deserves to be used to it’s fullest so we definitely want to keep it safe,” Lauren McKnight said.
On Wednesday, police on Long Island said they linked the admitted MS-13 gang members to the crime.
“Right now I know they are installing cameras in here so I think that’s a big plus,” preserve patron John Healy said.
Months after the murder, and amid warnings from police that men were exposing themselves on jogging trails, Nassau County police announced they’d be installing a network of two security cameras in and around the popular 430 acre park.
Police say the latest arrest was made possible due to teamwork among Nassau, Suffolk, and NYPD gang units.