2008-03-21 / Front Page

Beaten, Wrapped In Tarp, Set On Fire

By Howard Schwach

Two men were viciously beaten to death, wrapped in a tarp and placed in the trunk of a luxury auto, which was then set on fire in the weeds off Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel, law enforcement officials say.

Firefighters from both the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and the New York City Fire Department responded to a call of a car fire in the federal wildlife refuge at about 9:40 p.m. on Saturday, March 14.

After extinguishing the blaze in the late-model blue Porsche SUV, police say, they opened the trunk of the car and found the two bodies inside, charred beyond recognition.

On Monday, Ellen Borokove, a spokesperson for the Chief Medical Examiner, told The Wave that both victims died of "homicidal violence, including blunt force trauma to the head."

"The fire neither caused nor contributed to their deaths," Borokove added.

A spokesperson for the NYPD declined to provide identification for either of the men, saying, "They were unrecognizable, and we're working from dental records to get an ID for both of the men."

Original reports, including those from the United States Park Police who responded because the car was found on federal property, said that the men were shot. However, Borokove said that there was no indication of gunshots during the autopsy, which was completed on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the NYPD said that they had recovered a driver's license from the car and were investigating the identity, but both the NYPD and the Medical Examiner declined to identify the men.

The Daily News, however, ran a story on Monday reporting that one of the men found in the auto was its owner, Siaka Kone, a father of two from Harlem, who reportedly operated both a beauty supply house and a car service in Manhattan.

According to the Daily News article, Kone came to the United States in 1990 and has been working to bring his family from the Ivory Coast.

Kone's brother told reporters that Kone left home in his Porsche at about 6 or 7 p.m. on Friday with a friend who called himself Eugene Ella Eye.

The friend left his car in front of Kone's home, where he lives with his pregnant wife. He reportedly has an older son in the Ivory Coast.

Police officials declined to speculate on a motive for the double murder, but would say that the homicides were probably carried out elsewhere and the bodies were transported from the scene of the actual crime to Broad Channel.

Sources say that the site of the car fire, an undeveloped area between Howard Beach and Broad Channel, has been utilized by organized crime as a dumping ground.

One law enforcement official told The Wave, however, that he doubted that there was an organized crime involvement because, "I've never heard of them torching a high-end Porsche before."

One witness at the scene said that investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were on scene because the car was found on federal land.

A National Park Service official said, however, that the NYPD has the lead in the investigation, while federal officials are assisting.

"They have all the resources in the city," the official said. "They can carry the load."

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