The body of a woman, who became known as the “girl with the scorpion tattoo,” was found dumped, burned and handcuffed by a passerby in a field on Staten Island, New York, over 30 years ago.
She died from 17 blows to the head and was strangled, according to authorities who said a hammer believed to have been used on her was discovered nearby when she was found on Sept. 20, 1991.
A scorpion tattoo observed on her right buttock became associated with her identity which has remained unknown — until now, according to officials.
The woman has officially been identified as Christine Belusko, of Morris County, New Jersey, thanks to forensic genealogy, which was unavailable in 1991, the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office announced at a March 21 news conference. She was 29 years old when she died.
“While this is a story about a brutal and depraved act of violence that killed a young woman in her prime, and the dumping of her body in a lonely and desolate field on the East Shore of Staten Island exactly 31 and ½ years ago, it is also a story about our dogged, dedicated detectives and detective Investigators, and my persistent and purposeful prosecutors,” Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon said in a statement.
Despite the major break in the case, the search for Belusko’s killer continues, according to officials.
The person who killed her likely knew her as the killing “does not seem random,” McMahon said at the news conference. He added that there’s no indication she was killed by a serial killer.
Investigation revealed Christine has a daughter
Over the course of the investigation, it was learned that Belusko had a 2-year-old daughter named Christa Nicole when she died, according to the release.
Investigators discovered the existence of her daughter after samples of Belusko’s blood and dental records were uploaded in national databases for missing people, the release said.
This led to other living relatives of Belusko, according to officials.
Investigators ultimately learned Belusko was put up for adoption when she was a baby by her biological mother in New Jersey, according to the New York Times.
Then, they found her adoptive parents and her biological brother who ended up giving a sample of his DNA, the newspaper reported. Both her adoptive parents or brother were unaware of her death, according to the New York Times.
Authorities don’t know where Christa Nicole is, as leads have led investigators to dead ends, McMahon said at the news conference.
Christa Nicole was born on Aug. 1, 1989 and would be 33 years old today, according to the district attorney’s office.
“We implore anyone who might have information to contact us so we can find Christa Nicole, and bring justice to the memory of the girl with the scorpion tattoo,” McMahon said in the release.
Anyone who may have information about Christa Nicole, or Belusko’s killer, is asked to contact the district attorney’s office at 718-556-7085, the office’s email at email@example.com, or the NYPD Crime Stoppers line at 800-577-TIPS.