An NYPD cadaver dog led police to the body of missing Connecticut resident Joey Comunale yesterday afternoon. Comunale, who was last seen at an Upper East Side apartment building on Sunday and was reported missing on Tuesday morning, was "found buried under just 2 feet of dirt" in a wooded area of Oceanport, NJ. [UPDATE: The police have arrested James Rackover and Lawrence Dilione for the murder; more details below.]
Surveillance video shows Comunale, a Hofstra graduate who lived in Stamford, at an upscale apartment building, 418 East 59th Street, early Sunday morning. The NY Post reports that he had been "hanging out at The Gilded Lily in Chelsea on Saturday, and followed a group of people to the party at James Rackover’s apartment" around 4 a.m. The Daily News reports that Comunale met the group, which included three men and three women, "for the first time earlier in the night."
Rackover is the son of jeweler Jeffrey Rackover, who is described by the NY Times as "a longtime friend of Donald J. Trump, the president-elect, and sold him the engagement ring he gave to Melania Trump."
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said, "We uncovered a substantial amount of blood evidence inside the building, inside plastic bags that were downstairs through the garbage chute, in what were his clothing."
The partiers may have been "using cocaine and police suspect steroids were also involved." A Daily News source suggests Comunale was attacked because he "may have rebuffed the advances of one of the men."
Apparently someone called 911 about "a man dragging a suspicious trash bag out of the East Side building," and surveillance video shows a building resident using a luggage cart to bring two large bags to his car.
A person who attended the party, NJ resident Lawrence Dilione, reportedly told police where Comunale was buried, in the wooded area behind a florist. His body was stabbed and his pelvis was broken. Sources tell the Post Comunale had also been set on fire "in a possible effort to cover up the crime, and may have been thrown from a fourth-floor window."
James Rackover reportedly is in custody at the 13th Precinct but has not been answering investigators' questions. Chief Boyce, who did not mention Rackover by name, told reporters, "We're operating on physical evidence because he's not cooperating with us... We believe he is a suspect in this homicide. Right now, we’re taking statements from other people, collecting a lot of evidence as we go around the city; speaking to different people who were there that night in the club; who were in the apartment.”
Comunale's father Pat said, "I thank the Stamford police department, the NYPD and New Jersey authorities for all their hard work. My son was an incredible kid, never in trouble. He had tremendous friends around the world and the country. It’s just not right. These guys should pay, they have to pay. I’ll be there every day. Justice for Joey, guys."
UPDATE: Rackover and Dilione were charged with second-degree murder; concealment of a human corpse; and tampering with physical evidence. Dilione was also charged with hindering prosecution.
It appears that Comunale was stabbed 15 times. Chief Boyce said today, "We have blood on clothing and there appears to be bleach on that clothing as well, to cover up the blood."