Buried in the Backyard (2018–…): Season 1, Episode 3 - Lady in a Barrel - full transcript

After a homeowner discovers a mummified corpse buried inside a barrel beneath his home, detectives must painstakingly piece together a series of hidden clues to locate the killer.

In Long Island, New York,

a homeowner makes
a gruesome discovery

in an old rusty barrel.

It was just total

Could not believe
what we just found.

My wife said,
"I'm not staying in this house
another night."

I took a very quick look inside
and I could see a human hand.

The body of a young
woman hidden for decades.

It was sad to think that
she spent 30 years

in the bottom of a barrel
under somebody's house.

Along with
a very dark secret.

She said,
"He's going to kill me."

I said, "Who?"

Why is this guy
not being truthful with me?

It's not every day that a mummy
is found in your backyard.

30 miles east
of New York City

is the town of Jericho,

located on the north shore
of Long Island.

In September of 1999,
Ron Cohen had been a resident

for 10 years, but with his
kids getting older,

Ron decided it was finally time
to sell his home.

In general, selling a house
is a nightmare.

Ours turned out to be
a horror story.

The morning of
September 1st, 1999,

we were in the process of
closing on our house

and I did a walk-through
with a real estate broker

and the buyer of our house.

We came upon the crawl space
underneath the porch,

and the buyer wanted us
to clean everything out

and leave that crawl space
broom clean.

We were a little bit annoyed,

but we understood
why they were asking.

The crawl space was really
just used for a storage.

You know, we put beach chairs,
coolers, things like that.

And behind everything
there was a 55 gallon drum,

all the way
in the back corner.

It was the rusty old barrel

that had obviously been
under the crawl space

for years, and years,
and years.

When we moved in there,
you know, the barrel

was in the same place as when
we were going to move out.

My kids played hide and seek

underneath that
screened-in porch.

We lived in this house
for over ten years

and never gave it
any other thought.

When it got to moving
the barrel,

it was way too heavy
for us to move.

So I had called the movers
that I used to move the house

and they helped me get it out
and roll it to the curb

and left for sanitation
to pick up.

The next morning,
the sanitation department came

and they did not pick up
the barrel

because it was too heavy.

So they just left a note
in my mailbox that said,

either I had to open it up
and lighten it

or dispose of it
in another way.

We went and we got
a screwdriver

to crack open the seal.

When we opened the seal,

we got this horrific,
awful smell,

nothing that I've never
smelled before in my life.

That really made
the two of us choke.

And then a boot popped up
out of the barrel.

Just sprung up.

The two of us were horrified.
We called the police.

I thought it was a body
that was in the barrel,

but it was just
total disbelief.

Could not believe
what we just found.

You know, who would do
something like that?

How could it be?

Veteran homicide
detective Brian Parpan

of the Nassau County
police department

was assigned the case.

Late in the afternoon,
I received a call

about a possible dead body
in the Jericho area.

When I spoke to the detective

who called me,
I questioned him.

"What do you mean
a possible dead body?

It should be dead?
It's not dead?

What is the situation?"

When Detective Parpan
arrived at the scene,

he had no idea that
what was inside the barrel

would send him on
the most shocking

and unpredictable investigation
of his career.

I took a very quick
look inside,

and I could see a human hand.

It was not bone.
It was skin.

You were looking actually
at a hand,

and what appeared
to be a shoe.

Inside the barrel,

everything was kind of

and had taken on the tint
of dried old blood.

You knew that there was
human remains in there.

You didn't know
if it was just a limb
or a whole body.

It was very macabre
and frightening.

Jericho has, you know,
tree-lined streets,

nicely built homes.

It's the kind
of neighborhood

that you'd want
to raise a family in,

and it's quiet.

It's a place where
not much happens,

and people like it that way.

I asked to speak with
the owner of the house.

It was obvious that he was
still upset about what happened.

I mean, he was shaken by
what he had seen.

My interview of him,

was any knowledge
of the barrel

and did he have
any knowledge?

And with no uncertain terms,

he had no idea
how long it had been there,

but certainly,
as far as he knew,

had been there the entire time
he was living in the house.

Realistically speaking,

if he were responsible
for that,

he wouldn't be
calling the police.

So he was not someone
I thought was going to be

a person of interest.

We had a nanny who believed
that the house was haunted.

One time, when my kids
were in the swimming pool,

the electric transformer
exploded in our backyard.

Another time, we had
new garage doors put in.

One morning,
my wife came outside
to see a dead cat

with its neck stuck
under the garage door.

So, upon discovering the body
in the barrel,

things may have started
to come together,

looking in retrospect,
if you believe in spirits.

My wife said,
"I'm not staying in this house
another night."

And we did not stay
in the house another night.

We stayed in a hotel.

The barrel weighed
in excess of 300 pounds.

So emergency services
personnel came.

They were able
to put it on a lift,

and it was transported to
the medical examiner's office.

We laid down
a huge white sheet.

It's the only time
I've ever seen it.

Everyone in that room
wore a gas mask.

That's how bad that odor was.

On tipping the barrel over,

a green fluid
ran out of the barrel.

It was surprising,
because decomposition fluid

and body fluid
is generally clear.

So, samples of the fluid
are taken.

Eventually police discovered
that what was accompanying

the body inside the barrel,

were these plastic pellets
that had been put in there,

either to disguise the body
or to weigh down the barrel.

But it was filled
with these pellets.

We collected as many
as we could.

Some would be sent to a lab
for test purposes

to find out exactly
what they were.

struggled to pull the body
from the barrel,

and were unprepared
for what came next.

The shocking thing
to everyone was that

we were not dealing
with a skeleton.

We were dealing with what
was in fact a mummified body.

The skin had been
turned to leather,

and all the internal organs
and muscles had been dried out

and had been drained
of their fluids.

But the skin,
the leathered skin
was still there.

It was a sight that rattled

even the most seasoned
homicide detectives,

a small-framed young woman
between 25 and 30 years old

who had been brutally
disposed of.

Who was she?
And who had done this to her?

She had
a leopard skin coat on.

It was a faux leopard.

Just didn't
look like something

somebody would be
wearing today.

When the clothes
were examined,

it turns out that they played
a pretty important role

in dating
when she was killed,

because the clothes itself
was a time capsule.

You had a fashion show
straight out of the '60s.

You had this
faux leopard-skin coat.

You had this--
this kind of dress

that was very '60s style,
the shoes.

Everything was very--

just very pointed to
the late '60s.

But if the young woman
was murdered

three decades earlier,

was anyone
still searching for her?

And due to the mummified
state of the body,

would detectives be able
to identify the victim?

Once the body was removed,
the cause of death
became very obvious.

Although all the hair
on her head was still there,

on the back of her head,

where she had these
incredible wounds,

that hair had fallen out.

So it was very obvious
that she had suffered

blunt force trauma.

This was the type
of killing that you see

when there's
a lot of frustration,
a lot of hatred.

Probably, one or two blows
would have killed this woman

and there was multiple blows
to the head.

After they inspected
the young woman's face,

they found another
well-preserved clue.

Her front four teeth
were outlined in a gold inlay.

And the medical examiner
had indicated that

that's a type of dental work

you would see
in Central America, not--

it would not be common
to the United States.

Was the young woman
an immigrant?

If so, the detectives feared
it would lead them

on a complicated
and lengthy search

to find out who she was.

Then, to the horror
of investigators,

there was another
grisly discovery.

The medical examiner identifies
what looks like human bones

inside of the mummified woman,

and as he peels back
that skin layer,

discovered that
this is a fetus,

9- months-old,
inside this woman.

Now we have two victims.

At nine months, I mean,

a case could be made that

this fetus
was murdered as well.

That was a big
turning point right there,

the fact that this woman
was pregnant

has to have something
to do with this homicide.

And of all the phone numbers
in that book,

for this one to be the one
who actually knew

the victim from day one,

was just an incredible
piece of luck.

We finally learned who
this victim was.

In Jericho, New York,

detectives found the body
of a young pregnant woman

who was savagely murdered
and stuffed inside a barrel

for more than 30 years.

Although they didn't know
her identity

or who killed her,
they believed they knew

the killer's motive.

These very seasoned
homicide detectives

put two and two together,

and they suspected
that maybe the reason

she had been killed
was because she was pregnant,

and maybe the boyfriend
or the father of the child

didn't want that pregnancy
to be discovered.

Now that the woman's body
had been removed,

investigators scoured
the barrel,

hoping to piece together

how this horrible crime
had occurred,

but some of the clues
were surprising.

A green plastic stem came out.

It was about
six inches in length

with plastic
green leaves on it.

When we look at the leaf
and the stem,

we're thinking
of something you would see

in an arrangement of
plastic flowers

or something of that nature.

But why were the leaves
inside the barrel?

We're they just some
random pieces of trash?

Or did they have some
significance to the victim
or killer?

Like anything else
that's in the barrel,

it's potential evidence.

As it would be, the most
important item in this case

is in the bottom
of the barrel.

We find a pocketbook.

Inside the pocketbook
are a number of beauty items,

an eyebrow pencil, rouge.

But the most important item
that we find in there

is what appears to be
is a phone book.

It was only a two by two
inch telephone book,

but we were certainly
hopeful it would help us
identify her.

But the detectives' excitement

over a promising new lead
didn't last long.

Years of submersion
inside the barrel

caused the phone book to
become completely saturated.

And if you squeezed it,
you could put your fingers
right through it.

We put it into
an evidence bag

and turned that over
to our documents section

to see if they could do
anything with it.

They explained to me
that they had a drying oven

that they could try to use
on the book,

but that it would be
a very meticulous process.

My thoughts on the book was
that it was unsalvageable.

I had very,
very little hope that--

anything coming out
of that book.

By the next morning,

the story
of the young woman's

horrifying death
was on the front page

of the local papers.

Jericho residents
were mystified.

It's not everyday that
you read that a mummy

has been found
in your backyard.

So, the discovery of
the mummified body

from another era captured
New York's imagination.

One of the great mysteries
about this case

at the beginning
was the identity of the woman.

Nobody knew who she was.

It was extremely frustrating.

We felt that this person had to
be missing from somewhere.

She was an adult,
she was pregnant,

she had to have a family,
we felt,

she had to be known
to someone,

and we felt that she would be
reported as a missing person.

After searching the missing
persons database,

investigators did not find
any connections

to the female victim
from 30 years ago.

But soon, they would.

Detectives finally got their
first big break.

The forensics team was able
to pull some information

from the victim's
saturated phone book.

It was basically being dried
one page at a time,

and they were actually
able to open the cover

of the book
and the first page.

And the first thing
that was there,

and it was readable,
was an "A" number.

I thought that might be
an alien number.

An alien number is the number
found on green cards

given to immigrants living
in the United States.

This supported investigators'
original theory

that the woman was
an immigrant.

We got a positive
from Immigration

that, yes, that is
an alien number.

It was dating back
into the 1960s.

Eventually, Immigration
provides us with a name

and a time
that this individual

came into
the United States legally.

Investigators finally
learned the identity

of the woman whose life
was cut tragically short

three decades earlier,

along with the unborn son
she was carrying.

Her name was Reyna
Angelica Marroquin.

Or "Reyna Angelica Marroquin"

as it might have been
pronounced in El Salvador.

Police would later find out
that Reyna was a young woman

who came to America to find
her American dream.

She liked fashion,
she knew how to read well,

and she knew how to
speak English.

She was independent,
and so she didn't want to get

tied down in a bad marriage
in her small town

and live the rest
of her life there.

She wanted to see the world

and help her family
while she was doing it.

So, that combination led her
to emigrate to New York.

Reyna arrived
in America in 1966,

and despite being
a young immigrant woman

living on her own
in a new country,

she thrived, and loved
sharing her happiness

with her family
back in El Salvador.

Reyna had written regular
letters to her family,

and she would even
make phone calls
every once in a while.

But in the winter of 1968,

Reyna's letters and phone calls
suddenly stopped

without explanation.

The family didn't
know that Reyna was pregnant.

They just knew that
the letters stopped coming.

Reyna's journey,
it's a sad story of
a dream gone bad.

She was a very pretty girl.

It was sad to think that
she spent 30 years

in the bottom of a barrel
under somebody's house.

How did Reyna's dream

of a more fulfilling life
in America

end as a nightmare?

And how did her murder remain
a secret for 30 years?

One of the early steps
in the investigation

was to determine who had
lived in that house,

because there had been
multiple owners over the years.

One of the first things I did
was go to the town hall

to get all the records
of the house.

There were four owners
starting from the time

the house was built in '62.

We did all
background checks on them,

looked for
any criminal background,

and came up nothing

of any consequence
on any of it.

While detectives
continued looking into

all of the previous

they also focused on their
main piece of evidence--

the barrel.

Where did this industrial
barrel come from

and why was it
at the house?

So, we started with
the manufacturer of the barrel,

and they informed me that
that barrel was manufactured

in March of 1963.

The numbers "363" were from
were for March of '63.

"55" meant it was
a 55 gallon drum.

The company that had
manufactured the barrel

kept corporate records.

And the police used
those records to determine

who that barrel had
been sold to.

And there was good news
for investigators.

The company
that bought the barrel

was still in business
after 30 years.

And they told us that

that barrel
originally contained

a chemical that
was used in the dyeing

and the manufacture
of plastics.

Detectives made
an instant connection.

Was the same chemical used
to make the plastic leaves

found in the barrel?

They hoped that this new lead
would prove significant.

Then, there was a stunning
new development.

The rest of Reyna's
address book,

which detectives feared
might not be salvageable,

had dried out.

The vast majority of pages

was very incomplete

Sometimes there was
a first name,

or a portion of a first name,

a half a phone number,

although there were a number
of pages where there was

a full phone number.

Could it be possible
that these phone numbers

would still be active
after 30 years?

To find out, they called
every single one.

Most of them were
out of service,

except for one.

The woman who picked up
the phone knew Reyna

and was willing to talk
to the police about her.

And I'm thinking,
how is it possible

the same person
is still there?

She had a very dramatic story
to tell police

about the night
that Reyna disappeared.

When she knocked on the door,
nobody answered,

and when she turned
the doorknob,

the door was unlocked.

She knew something terrible
has happened.

Detectives made
a huge breakthrough

in the Reyna Marroquin
murder investigation.

They located a woman
who actually knew the victim.

They hoped she might be able
to help them

finally figure out
who killed Reyna and why.

There was a woman by the name
of Kathy Andrade.

So I asked her
if it would be okay

if we came to speak to her.

She immediately agreed,
gave us the address.

When the police met
with Kathy Andrade

and mentioned Reyna's name
and showed her the picture,

she broke down crying.

It was a very emotional
moment for her.

Kathy immediately
went to tears,

and said,
"My angel, my angel."

Which, in fact,
was her middle name--

For 30 years, Kathy had been
living with the pain

of never knowing what happened
to her friend Reyna.

Their friendship began
in the 1960s,

just after Reyna arrived
in New York City

to start her career
in fashion.

From that moment on,

Reyna and Kathy were

They forged a deep bond
and became as close as sisters.

Kathy and Reyna
were very close.

Kathy was kind of a mentor
to her and helped her,

because Kathy knew what life
was like in Manhattan

and in New York.
She had lived there longer,

spoke better English,
so she kind of helped her out.

And just like
any younger sibling,

Reyna confided in Kathy
about everything,

including her biggest secret.

She was dating a married man.

According to Kathy,
Reyna would get together

with her boyfriend
when his wife was away.

They'd go on long romantic
walks in Central Park

or take cruises
on Long Island Sound
in his fishing boat.

Kathy informed us that Reyna

was living at
a Catholic residency,

and that Reyna told her,
"I can't stay here any longer.

I'm pregnant."

Reyna's boyfriend
promised to take care of her.

He set her up in an apartment
in Hoboken, New Jersey,

and told her they would
be together forever,

even though he was still
a married man.

All of Reyna's dreams
were coming true,

until the spring of 1969.

Kathy had a very
dramatic story to tell police

about the night that
Reyna disappeared.

She called telling
Kathy she was all upset

because the man said,
"I'm not going to marry you.

I'm not leaving my wife."

Reyna told her,
"I did a very foolish thing.

I called his wife.

I told his wife
that I was pregnant by him."

Kathy rushed to
Reyna's apartment,

hoping she might be able
to protect her friend,

if in fact
she was truly in danger.

When she knocked on the door,
nobody answered.

When she turned the doorknob,
the door was unlocked.

She goes inside.
No one is there.

She finds that there is
still food that's warm.

Reyna had not been gone
very long at all.

Kathy's thinking that
something terrible has happened,

so she waits inside
the apartment
for several hours.

But Reyna doesn't turn up,

so Kathy goes to police
and wants to file

a missing person's report,
but police tell her,

"It's only been a few hours.
Nobody's missing yet.

You can't file a report."

So Kathy goes back home
to Manhattan.

She tried again the next day,

but since she wasn't a part

of Reyna's immediate family,

the police turned her away.

Kathy attempted to call her
with no results,

and at some point
she just thought

she went back
to El Salvador.

There was nothing more
that Kathy could do.

She could only hope that
Reyna would one day return.

Over time, she accepted
that Reyna wasn't coming back.

In 1999, Detective Parpan
was still trying
to make the connection.

How did Reyna end up buried
inside the barrel

in a backyard
of a home in Jericho?

I don't think
in the middle of the night

someone is going to
roll a body up

and put it under
someone's home.

So, we're probably
dealing with a relatively
short list of suspects.

In this case, the only things
that we could do

is I could find out
the history of the house,

everybody who lived
in the house.

Detective Parpan pored
through the city records

of all the previous

That's when something
strange caught his attention.

A large extension was added
to the back of the house

by the second owner.

I'm sitting with
a certificate of occupancy

that says the extension
was done in 1980,

and when it's he
owned the house.

And it was built
over the exact same spot

where the barrel was found.

Our initial
thoughts were that

whoever built that extension

may very well be
responsible for this.

We asked him if
he could possibly explain

how there was a barrel with
a body of pregnant woman

found under his home.

He couldn't describe her
any way, shape, or form.

Why is this guy not
being truthful with me?

Detectives discovered
that a home extension

was built in 1980.

They now had a new lead
in their investigation,

the former homeowner
named Arthur Ebbin.

The initial part of
the interview

with the second owner
of the house

didn't start off
particularly well.

I asked him about when
he did the extension

and he told me he didn't
do the extension.

Immediately thought,
"That's not right."

I have a piece of paper here
that says you filed a permit

and put the extension up.

I have another piece
of paper that says

the town okay-ed
the extension

and gave you a certificate
of occupancy for it.

He goes on to explain to us
that the extension was there

when he purchased the house.

The previous owner said

that he had not built
that extension.

All he had done was
bring it up to code.

So the extension
had actually been built

by the first owner
of the house.

But before their
interview was over,

Ebbin made an made
an off-handed comment

that floored detectives.

He said, "And by the way,

I saw that barrel that
was under there."

So, I asked him,

"So, you saw the barrel.
What'd you do about it?"

And he said, "We left it."

It was in the house
for 12 years

and never concerned himself
with the barrel again.

He said, "I thought it
was probably

some construction material
that was left over

from when the extension
was put on the house."

He didn't think
anything about it.

Detectives continued to
question Arthur Ebbin

in an effort to glean
more information.

They specifically
wanted to know

about the person
he bought the house from,

a man named Howard Elkins.

He remembered several things.

That he was married
and had a couple of children,

but he also recalled that
he worked in New York City.

He said that he believed
that Elkins was involved

as an owner of a plastics
flower company.

I'm flabbergasted.

Now Howard Elkins is determined
to be the person of interest.

It was a bombshell.

Detectives had their first
tangible link

between the evidence found
in the barrel

and a potential suspect.

Howard Elkins,
along with another gentleman

by the name
of Melvin Gantman,

owned this company,
Melrose Plastics

and sold it in 1971.

The plan was to speak
to the partner

before speaking to
the suspect, Mr. Elkins.

Anything more that we can
gain from his partner

is information that
we can use.

It goes back to learning
as much as you can

before you speak with
a suspect.

Mr. Gantman was very willing
to speak with us.

He was very sharp.
He had a very good memory.

Immediately upon showing him
a picture of the barrel,

he identified it
as the type of barrel
that we would have.

Further to say,
that's the barrel that
we put dye in.

Gantman also
recognized the green liquid.

He said, this is a chemical
that we used to use

to dye the flowers and
our shrubbery that we created.

Detectives then
steered the conversation

toward his former partner
Howard Elkins.

We had asked him
if he ever knew

Mr. Elkins
having a girlfriend.

- He said, "Yes, he did.
- He had a girlfriend."

She worked at the factory.

He said she was petite.

She was very attractive,
she had long black hair,

she had gold teeth
in the front.

Gold in her teeth.

My partner and I looked
at each other saying,

"It's like he's describing
a picture of her."

For Detective Parpan,
the evidence was lining up.

Howard Elkins was once
the owner of the house
in Long Island.

He operated a plastic company
between 1961 and 1971.

And he had a girlfriend
who matched the description
of Reyna Marroquin.

Detectives found that Elkins
was now 70 years old,

and living in Florida.

Pulled right up to the house
and knocked on the door.

He just said, "Come on in."

We showed him the same items
that we had showed Mr. Gantman.

We showed him a photo
of the barrel.

He indicated that they never
used barrels like that
in his business.

We asked him about the dye,
the green dye.

He indicated that
that was not used
in his company.

So the things that we knew,
he lied about.

Strangely enough,
he told us the truth
about having a girlfriend.

In 1999,
New York detectives

went to Florida
to question Howard Elkins

about Reyna Marroquin,

the woman they believed
he had an affair with

31 years earlier.

Much to the surprise
of the investigators,

Howard Elkins
admitted that he had
had an affair

in the 1960s for some time,

but he pretended
he didn't remember

anything about the woman.

Not her name, not even
the color of her hair.

He couldn't describe her
any shape, way, or form,

you know, whether she was tall
or whether she was slender

or whether she was short.

He couldn't go into
any of that,

so we knew that he was
stonewalling us at that time.

We asked him if he could
possibly explain

how there was a barrel
with a body

of a pregnant woman
found under his home.

And he just had
no explanation.

He said it wasn't from him,
he had no knowledge of it.

There wasn't a doubt
in my mind

that Howard Elkins was lying.

The police detectives
threatened to take

a DNA sample from his cheek

to compare it to
the DNA of the fetus

to see if they could
connect him to Reyna.

- And he says, "No.
- I can't allow that."

Well, we said, "Why not?
It'll either put you in

or put you out of this thing.

And, you know, this is
an investigative tool

that we would like to use."

At this point, he started
getting very standoffish,

not giving you anything,

"I know what you guys
can do with that.

Look what they did to O.J."


We said, "Look,
we're not here by accident.

We believe
you're involved in this,

and we're gonna wind up
getting what we have to get."

And just when
they had Howard Elkins

backed into a corner...

were interrupted.

The phone rang,

and when he got up
to answer the phone

we could hear his side
of the conversation

and it was obviously
his wife.

After a short conversation,
he got off the phone.

He said, "Look, my wife
is on her way home.

I don't want you here
when he gets here."

Legally speaking,
we have to leave.

So I said, "We'll leave.
We have no choice."

But I said, "I want you
to know something.

I'm gonna get a warrant.

I'm gonna get a warrant
for your blood,

and I'm gonna get your DNA,
and I'm gonna put you in jail

for the rest of your life.
Do you understand?"

He just imperceptibly
nodded his head.

He didn't say a word to me,

he just kind of nodded
once or twice,

and we left.

The detectives didn't have
enough evidence

to arrest Elkins.

They feared that unless
they could prove

that he was the father
of Reyna's unborn child,

their case was circumstantial

and he would never
be brought to justice.

So they rushed
to a local judge

to obtain a warrant
for his DNA.

The following day, I decided
to call the office again

just to update them
on where we were.

A detective, he said,

"The Palm Beach
police department

just called our office.

They want to know if you have
Elkins in custody."

I thought that was
a little unusual.

I said, "We don't have
an arrest warrant.

Of course we don't have him.
Why are you asking?"

He said, "Well, the wife
is reporting him missing."

When Howard Elkins
went missing,

police didn't know what
to make of it.

They thought maybe
he had fled,

maybe he was trying
to hide from police.

But Howard Elkins
wasn't hiding.

He had already been located

by the Palm Beach
police department.

We went to a house

about a block and a half away
from Elkins' home

and we saw a large
police presence.

I was informed by
a detective at the scene

that Howard Elkins
was in fact dead.

He had purchased
a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun

earlier that day
with some ammunition.

He went into the back seat
of his friend's car

and put the gun in his mouth
and fired it.

We were absolutely convinced
that he was the killer,

and certainly, I think,
that is proven

by the fact
that he took his life.

I think people were aghast

that a man
who had everything,

a family, a home, career,

could throw it away
and murder somebody.

I think people were shocked
when he killed himself

and thought that maybe
he was taking the easy way out.

After Howard Elkins
had killed himself,

police took a sample
from his blood,

and they compared it
to the sample

of the DNA in the fetus,

and were able to determine

that he was the father
of the fetus.

I felt that he was
a double coward.

Not only did he kill a woman
who he had an affair with,

but he killed his own child.

After hunting down
Reyna's killer,

investigators set their sights
on another search--

Reyna's family
in El Salvador.

Previous efforts
to locate them had failed,

but their luck
was about to change.

After Howard Elkins
took his own life in 1999,

New York detectives
finally had DNA proof

that linked him to the murder
of his former girlfriend

and her unborn child.

I think Howard Elkins' motive

was to keep
his family intact.

And when he found
that she was pregnant,

he kind of wanted
to distance himself from her.

He moved her to an apartment
far away in New Jersey,

and he hoped
that she would just go away.

But she didn't because

she believed
that he loved her

and that he would
leave his wife

and do right by her
and marry her.

And when she discovered
that he had no plans

to leave his wife,
she grew desperate.

She called his wife,
she disclosed the affair,

and that caused Howard Elkins
to go into a rage.

We believe what
actually happened

was he went to
the apartment that day.

Whatever line he fed her
to go with him, we don't know.

Nothing amiss
at the apartment.

The plates are still on
the table, the food is warm.

Even the door is left open,
we believe,

for Kathy to come,
knowing that she's coming.

We believe that he took her
back to his factory.

The factory was large enough
where there were areas

downstairs in the basement.

He could be pretty much
alone with her.

I think, without a doubt,
that is where he killed her.

The cause of death,
seven to ten blows

in the back of the head.

Probably a hammer.

Elkins placed Reyna's body,

along with a purse
containing her address book,

into an empty barrel.

He then grabs
four 50-pound bags

of the plastic pellets,

puts them in the back
of the station wagon,

and then a 55 gallon drum.

We believe without a doubt
he took her back to his home

and then filled the barrel
with 200 pounds of pellets.

Maybe he crammed all those
pellets into the metal drum

because he thought
it would weigh it down

and that it would
make it possible

to sink the drum
if he took it out

to the Long Island Sound.

But, eventually,

I think he found
that it was too heavy

to do anything
like that with it,

and the only option

was to roll it
underneath his house.

He leaves it there
and they sell the house.

How long is this man
looking over his shoulder?

He just leaves it there and
he gets 30 years out of it.

So instead of spending
30 years in jail,

he lived his life,
he watched his family grow.

And now, when it was time
to pay the piper,

he took the coward's way out

and he took his own life.

I wanted him in jail.

I wanted him to be punished.

The man took advantage
of a poor immigrant worker

that worked for him.

To this day,
I can't understand

how anybody would
do such a horrific thing,

and then
when leaving and moving,

would leave something
like that behind.

It's just mind-boggling.

I don't know how the man
lived with himself

for all these years.

I think that people find
themselves in situations

where they dig themselves
into a hole

and they don't know
how to get out of it.

And in this case,
Howard Elkins wanted

to wipe Reyna
from his personal history,

and he did it by killing her.

All that was
left for investigators

was to notify
Reyna Marroquin's family.

Because their contact numbers
were out of date,

Detective Parpan
enlisted the help

of journalist Oscar Corral

to track them down
in El Salvador.

That was my first trip
abroad as a reporter.

I just started knocking
on doors in this little town

on the outskirts
of San Salvador.

When I arrived
at Reyna's house,

they were celebrating
Reyna's mother's birthday.

She was 93 years old.

When I first arrived,
they thought that

I might have been sent
by a newspaper

because this woman was so old

and I wanted to write up
a story about her birthday.

And it wasn't until I showed
the mother the picture

of her daughter
on the cover of "Newsday"

that she realized what
this visit was about.

This case
really weighed on me.

I never really prepared

for breaking
this kind of news to them.

I wished I could come
to them with good news,

that Reyna had been found,
and that she was alive,

and that she had children,
but that was not to be.

And the mother immediately
covered her mouth

with her hand
and just bowed her head

and started
crying and weeping.

She told me that for years
she had had a dream

that her daughter was
inside a barrel

going over a waterfall,

and that disturbed her sleep
for many decades.

And she said that
she had reached this old age

because she wanted
to know what happened

to her daughter
before she died.

In October of 1999,

the remains
of Reyna Marroquin

and her unborn son
were returned to El Salvador.

After 30 years,
they were finally given
a proper funeral.

The two were buried together
in the Marroquin Cemetery

next to Reyna's mother,
who died a month later.