A teenager whose remains were discovered Monday is the sixth person believed to be killed by gang violence found dead in Brentwood in the past five weeks, Suffolk County police said.
The body of 18-year-old Jose Pena-Hernandez, an alleged MS-13 gang member from Brentwood who was reported missing on June 13, was found in a wooded area at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center on Crooked Hill Road, police announced Thursday. The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office will perform an autopsy to determine his cause of death.
“We believe that there is gang involvement,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said. He added that after the victim was reported missing, “almost immediately my detectives recognized that there was foul play involved.”
The commissioner said that over the past month since police began cracking down on gangs in the community, police arrested 30 gang members—five of whom are facing federal charges, with the rest being prosecuted in county court. He declined to name the suspects.
The latest discovery comes a month after police found Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, fatally beaten. Days after those findings, police uncovered the skeletal remains of 19-year-old Oscar Acosta, who was reported missing under suspicious circumstances in May, and Miguel Moran, 15.
Police have said Mickens’ and Cuevas’ deaths are believed to be gang-related. Sources have said that gang is MS-13, a notoriously violent street gang that has been linked to a string of murders in the community, but Sini would only confirm Thursday that the three boys are suspected MS-13 victims. All four teenagers were Brentwood High School students.
Last week, police said Dewann A.S. Stacks, 34, of Brentwood, was found beaten to death on American Boulevard in a case that investigators also suspect has gang involvement.
Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation into these cases and ask anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-852-6392 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.