It could be a case of ‘he said’, ‘she said’, but in this case, the ‘he’ is possibly the last person to see Marisha Cheong, 24, alive before her body washed ashore on a beach in Queens over the weekend, and the ‘she’ in this story is the young woman’s mother, to whom she was very close. Both he and she have very different stories when it comes to who could be responsible for Cheong’s death.
“That’s my main agenda now,” said Latchman Balkaran, 26, the boyfriend Cheong had lived with in his family’s Jamaica, Queens, home for three years. “Everything in my life is finding who did this.”
But Cheong’s mother said that she knows who killed her daughter, and if Balkaran doesn’t know, he’s deceiving himself and the world. “I don’t care what he says,” Bibi Ali, 48, told PIX11 News. “He’s a liar and he’s always going to be a liar. They’re going to get him.”
The contrast was stark between the mother and the boyfriend of the young woman whose badly decomposed body washed ashore on a beach on Bayside Avenue in Breezy Point around 8:00 A.M. Saturday. The young woman who loved all things Christmas was last seen alive December 19th, less than a week before her favorite holiday. Two months later her body was found with her hands tied, wearing one shoe, and pajama bottoms.
“If you have your pajamas on, your’e sleeping,” Ali said. “He’s the one who put her there.”
“We don’t know what happened,” Cheong’s boyfriend, Balkaran, told PIX11 News. “There are a lot of strange things, and [police] are working on finding out, putting the pieces together.”
He said that he had been in contact with police since a passerby discovered his girlfriend’s body Saturday, and that most of his interactions with investigators were similar to those he’d had since Cheong disappeared at Christmastime — working with detectives to help crack the case.
He also made a request, though, that proved to be somewhat puzzling. “I just ask that everyone respect both of our famil[ies],” Balkaran said, “And give them the privacy that they need.”
However, at his girlfriend’s family’s home a half hour away in Valley Stream, they wanted to speak with PIX11 News, in a quest for justice. “Whoever did this, they have to pay,” Cheong’s mother said.
She asked that anybody with information contact police. She said the information would help to convict Balkaran and bring him to justice. “Put me at ease,” she pleaded with potential witnesses.
For his part, Balkaran also said he was not resting easy until the killer is caught, and was stunned at the latest developments. “I can’t believe this is real. I can’t.”
“I’m trying to stay strong for my family and Marisha’s family,” he said. Her family, however, made very clear that they want nothing to do with him.
“I’m convinced it’s him,” Bibi Ali said.