They appeared to have been killed with a sharp-edged instrument, in a manner consistent with the modus operandi of the violent MS-13 gang, Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said at a news conference Thursday.
Gang violence has been a problem in Central Islip, Brentwood and other Long Island communities for more than a decade, but Suffolk County police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began pouring resources into a crackdown after the killings of the girls, along with two other Brentwood High School students. "He kept his distance from them", she said.
Authorities say that MS-13 is already responsible for six killings in Long Island over the last several months.
He declined to comment on reports that a video of the crime scene was sent to one of the victim's girlfriends. He gave me this address [to the park]'.
Police believe the victims were killed where they were found: at Central Islip Recreation Village Park on Clayton Street in Central Islip, across the street from an elementary school. That's when they got anxious, because it was nearly like a full day'.
The victims were identified as 16-year-old Justin Llivicura of East Patchogue, 20-year-old Michael Lopez Banegas and Jorge Tigre of Bellport, Jefferson Villalobos of Pompano Beach, Fla., both 18, police said.
In an online group chat the day before the attack, Joyner-Francis offered advice to one of her friends about a problem involving a boy, telling her friend to "just be careful". Investigators believe the deaths happened recently.
Kayla had been involved in "disputes" with MS-13 gang members and associates, including a recent altercation at Brentwood High School, where the girls attended classes.
In September, the bodies of two teenage girls aged 15 and 16 were found mutilated by machetes in nearby Brentwood.
Nisa's mother Elizabeth Alvarado described her loss as 'the worst pain that any mother could feel'. His remains were discovered in October. Some of the MS-13 gang members reportedly infiltrated the ranks of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who walked across the border from Mexico during the past several years.
Authorities say he was killed in retaliation for breaking the protocol of a high school gang. He is from Florida, and was in the park hanging out with his cousin Banegas from Brentwood, when they were killed along with two others.
"They'll kill anybody", said Isaiah Vogelfang, whose own brother, Michael Johnson, was allegedly killed by MS-13 members previous year.