Authorities think that a missing 26-year-old Hofstra graduate who went missing was stabbed to death in a fight at a Manhattan apartment before being dumped in New Jersey, a law enforcement official told NBC 4 New York.
The official said that Joey Comunale of Stamford, Connecticut, appears to have been stabbed to death in some sort of dispute after he, two other men and three women returned from a nightclub on 14th Street late Saturday or early Sunday.
The official said that Comunale was stabbed sometime after the three women left the luxury apartment building. Authorities aren't sure how the body was removed from the apartment.
Two men were being questioned at an NYPD stationhouse Wednesday, police said. NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce said at an earlier new briefing that one of them was considered a suspect and that man was not being cooperative.
The other man gave police information that helped authorities locate a partially burned body in Monmouth County, thought to be that of the 26-year-old man, two law enforcement sources said.
Chopper 4 showed an extensive law enforcement presence at the scene where the body was found, in a wooded area behind an old police department that had to relocate due to Sandy devastation. NYPD vehicles were spotted in addition to local law enforcement.
Police had said there were signs of foul play in the disappearance of Comunale, who was last seen on surveillance video entering the Grand Sutton building near the corner of East 59th Street and First Avenue Sunday morning.
Stamford police said on Wednesday that the man had gone to New York City with friends on Saturday night and separated from them at some point. Police in Connecticut have not yet contacted the friends, but are aiding the NYPD in its investigation.
He was reported missing by his father on Tuesday.
Crime scene investigators were later seen carrying out bags of evidence from the apartment building. Law enforcement sources said they found bloody clothing and bloody sheets, along with a luggage cart that had evidence of blood on it.
Comunale's family was asked to come to New Jersey to make an identification.
"He was one of a kind," Comunale's stunned father, Pat, told reporters from his Connecticut home Wednesday. "We're just in denial. This is not something that happens to kids like this. I don't know if it was pre-meditated. I don't know how it happened."
Comunale graduated from Hofstra University and was an avid hockey player.
"He was that kid, life of the party, never did anything wrong. Good-hearted kid," said friend Devin Edwards. "A lot of people, a lot of friends loved him very much."
"He didn't deserve this," Pat Comunale said. "He didn't go looking for trouble. It wasn't right. This is not right."