The body of the man whom police believe is that of Joseph Comunale was found in a shallow grave in New Jersey, stabbed 15 times and was the object of an attempt to burn it with gasoline, a top NYPD official said Thursday.
Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that two people in custody at the 13th Precinct in Manhattan are expected to be charged and that discussions are underway with the Manhattan district attorney’s office about the exact charges.
While police are fairly certain the remains in New Jersey are those of Comunale, they are awaiting the results of a dental examination to confirm his identity.
Comunale, 26, of Stamford, disappeared after coming into Manhattan over the weekend and partying. Police said he met friends in Greenwich Village and then went with another group of people to a party on East 59th Street on the Upper East Side. It was there, according to police, that there is evidence of a homicide. Boyce said that blood spatter was found in an apartment at the address, and that detectives also found bloody clothing that had been treated with bleach as if to cover up the stains.
Boyce described the grave near the town of Oceanport as “very disturbing.” He likened it to the crime scene surrounding the death of Karina Vetrano in Howard Beach last August because of the heavily weeded terrain police are examining for evidence.
Boyce didn’t mention the names of any of the people in custody. But it has been reported and law enforcement sources confirmed that one of the people of interest was James Rackover, the son of noted Manhattan jeweler Jeffrey Rackover, 56. Boyce said that while investigators for now believe the two men are related, “we have no proof that he is in fact related at all to that person, referring to James Rackover.
Boyce said that James Rackover was at one time a Florida resident but that detectives were still diving deeper into his background.
Boyce said that James Rackover is not cooperating with police and that Jeffrey Rackover has not been interviewed by detectives.