By Rich Bockmann
The police have not identified any suspects in the case of a 24-year-old woman whose body was found washed up on the beach in Breezy Point after she disappeared nearly two months ago, and the woman’s boyfriend claimed he was doing everything he can to find her murderer.
Marisha Cheong was last seen Dec. 19 at the Jamaica home where she lived with her boyfriend, Latchman Balkaran, police said.
Cheong, a business-management student at Long Island University in Brooklyn, had been with Balkaran for about five years, and the boyfriend said the two were thinking about getting married.
“We were planning to get married. We were going to start a life together,” he said tearfully Monday after police discovered Cheong’s body washed up on the shore in Breezy Point early Saturday morning.
Balkaran, 26, said he last saw Cheong on Dec. 19. She had the day off from school, he said, and was lying in bed when he left for work. When he came home, she was gone.
A Facebook page offering a $5,000 reward for information about Cheong’s disappearance garnered 243 likes. On Tuesday, the page thanked well-wishers for their support.
“It was a tremendous blow to our family learning of her passing away. We have no idea how to move forward without Marisha. We miss Marisha and will always love her. Anyone who was lucky to meet her know how amazing she was,” it read. “We pray for her peaceful slumber and hope for justice for Marisha. Marisha will forever remain irreplaceable us.”
Cheong’s mother has said she believes Balkaran had something to do with her daughter’s death, but the boyfriend said he has been cooperating with the police ever since she disappeared and denied any involvement.
“Everyone looks at the boyfriend and the husband. That’s understandable,” he said. “She doesn’t know what happened that day. No one does.”
Police said they have identified neither a suspect nor a person of interest in the case.
Balkaran said he had his own suspicions, but did not want to comment on the ongoing investigation and risk tipping anyone off.
He said despite the criticism from Cheong’s mother, he could understand what she is going through.
“She lost a daughter, and I lost someone I loved,” he said.
The medical examiner was working to establish Cheong’s cause of death.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.