December 2, 1941 (age 27), El Salvador
January 1969 (aged 27) United States
Murder of Diane Maxwell, Murder of Reet Jurvetson, Murder of Betsy Aardsma
THE BODY IN THE BARREL: THE MURDER OF REYNA MARROQUÍN
The murder of Reyna Angélica Marroquín (born 1941) occurred in 1969 in Nassau County, New York. The crime was not discovered for at least 30 years after its occurrence. Howard B. Elkins (June 20, 1929 – September 10, 1999), a local businessman, was identified as the prime suspect, though he committed suicide before he could be charged or thoroughly questioned.
In 1999, an old 55-gallon drum in the crawl space of a house in Nassau County, New York was found to contain the mummified remains of a pregnant Hispanic female in her late 20s between 4'9" and 5'0" tall, with unusual dental work. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. The drum also contained polystyrene pellets, two rings (one inscribed "M.H.R.") a locket inscribed "To Patrice Love Uncle Phil", green dye, and an address book.
The drum had been made in 1965 and used for transporting dye. Markings showed it had been shipped to Melrose Plastics, a synthetic flower company partly owned by Howard B. Elkins, who had also owned the Nassau County house until the 1970s.
Under infrared light some of the deteriorated address book was legible. An alien card number written on the first page belonged to Reyna Angélica Marroquín, an immigrant from El Salvador, who had worked as a nanny and for a manufacturer of synthetic flowers. A phone number belonged to Kathy Andrade, a friend of Marroquin. Andrade told police that Marroquín had been having an affair with Elkins, but had called Andrade to say she had become afraid of Elkins after telling Elkins' wife about the affair. Andrade went to Marroquin's apartment but found it empty. Marroquin was never heard from again.
There were reports that when a woman fitting Marroquin's description appeared once with a toddler at Melrose Plastics, employees had joked that the child's father was Elkins.
Detectives who interviewed Elkins found him uncooperative, and told him they intended to obtain an order to take his DNA for comparison with that of the fetus. The next day he was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. DNA testing found that he was almost certainly the father of the fetus.
Investigators believe Elkins either went to Marroquin's New Jersey apartment or lured her to the factory and killed her. He then took her body to the Nassau County house, possibly with the intention of dumping her in the ocean from his boat. But after filling the barrel with plastic pellets to ensure it would sink, he found it too heavy to move, so he left it in the crawl space.
Writer Oscar Corral went to San Martín, San Salvador, where Marroquín's 95-year-old mother told him that that for thirty years she had dreamt about her Marroquin's whereabouts, including that she was in a barrel. Marroquin was buried in El Salvador; her mother died a month later and was buried with her.