Body found buried in back yard of missing man in Queens

Posted at 10:06 AM, May 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-01 16:25:39-04

Cops in Queens have a murder mystery on their hands after a body was found in a shallow grave behind a six-unit apartment building.

Neighbors on Putnam Avenue in Ridgewood say they are shocked at the grisly discovery.

“We’re all in shock ’cause it’s a very quiet neighborhood so nothing very strange like that happens around here,” said Jennifer Harris, a next-door neighbor.  She added, “We are all trying to understand why this would happen.”

The body was buried behind the Putnam Avenue home of 60-year-old retired postal worker Frank Soucie, who was reported missing by his girlfriend and last seen on April 22.

The body was found after a neighbor reportedly spotted  a man  dumping a large bag into the trash.

Police were called to the scene and found gloves and ammonia on the roof of  the house and a burned sleeping bag in the trash. They also spotted fresh dirt in the yard. They investigated and unearthed the body.

“To see one of us die like that, it’s shocking , it’s traumatizing. To know that a killer walked past you,”  said Janelle Barrano, who says she has lived on the street for 30 years and known Soucie just as long.

In recent days, Soucie’s son appealed for help on Facebook to find his father.  Friends, including Janelle Barrano, are distraught.

“He was a good guy.  We always said, ‘Frank don’t stay out so late.’  We thought he would get mugged or that we would find his body in the street.  Never in the back yard though.”

Police say 27-year-old Derek Tudor, Soucie’s girlfriend’s son, turned himself in at the 102 Precinct Tuesday night. “He indicated that he suffocated (Soucie),” said Paul Browne, chief spokesman for the NYPD told the NY Daily News. “He began to cry again and asked for a lawyer.”

The medical examiner will determine the identity and the cause of death.  The investigation is continuing.