Murder of Reyna Marroquín

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Reyna Marroquín
Reyna Marroquin.jpg
Reyna Angélica Marroquín

1941 (1941)
Died1969 (aged 27–28)
Cause of deathBlunt force trauma
Body discoveredSeptember 2, 1999
Jericho, Nassau County, New York, United States
Resting placeEl Salvador
OccupationFactory worker
Known forMurder victim, former unidentified decedent

Reyna Angélica Marroquín (1941–1969) was a Salvadoran woman who was murdered in the United States in 1969.[1] Marroquín's murder was not discovered until 1999, 30 years after its occurrence, when her body was found in the former Jericho, New York home of Howard B. Elkins, a businessman who was identified as the prime suspect. Elkins committed suicide before he could be charged or thoroughly questioned.


On September 2, 1999, an old 55-gallon drum in the crawl space of a house in Jericho, Nassau County, New York, was found to contain the mummified remains of a pregnant Hispanic female in her late 20s between 145 and 152 cm (4'9" and 5'0") tall, with unusual dental work.[1] The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. The drum also contained polystyrene pellets, two rings (one inscribed "M.H.R."), a locket inscribed "To Patrice Love Uncle Phil", green dye, and an address book.[1]

The drum had been made in 1965 and used for transporting dye, with markings showing it had been shipped to Melrose Plastics, a synthetic flower company partly owned by Howard B. Elkins, a local businessman who had owned the Jericho house until 1972, when he sold the plastic business and moved to Boca Raton, Florida, with his wife.[1][2][3][4] Under infrared light some of the deteriorated address book was legible.[5] An alien card number written on the first page belonged to Reyna Angélica Marroquín, a 28-year-old immigrant from El Salvador, who had worked as a nanny, and for a manufacturer of synthetic flowers at a factory on East 34th Street, Manhattan.[5][6] A phone number in the book belonged to Kathy Andrade, who had been a friend of Marroquín. When contacted, Andrade told the police that Marroquín had been having an extramarital affair with Elkins, but had called Andrade to say she had become afraid of him after telling Elkins' wife about the affair.[7][4][5] Andrade went to Marroquín's apartment but found it empty, and she was never heard from again.[3] There were reports that when a woman fitting Marroquín's description appeared once with a toddler at Melrose Plastics, employees had joked that the child's father was Elkins.[4]


Detectives who interviewed Elkins found him uncooperative, and told him they intended to obtain an order to take his DNA for comparison with that of the fetus found inside Marroquín. The next day, September 10, 1999, Elkins was found dead in the back seat of his car from a self-inflicted gunshot wound from a 12-gauge Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun he purchased at a Walmart store that day found in between his legs.[7][8][1][2][9][4] The DNA testing found that Elkins was almost certainly the father of the fetus.[8]

Investigators believe Elkins either went to Marroquín's New Jersey apartment or lured her to the factory and killed her.[1] He then took her body to the Nassau County house, possibly with the intention of dumping her in the ocean from his boat, but after filling the barrel with plastic pellets to ensure it would sink, he found it too heavy to move and left it in the crawl space.[5][9]

Writer Oscar Corral went to San Martín, San Salvador, where Marroquín's 95-year-old mother told him she had dreamt about Marroquín trapped inside a barrel.[10][9] Marroquín was buried in El Salvador; her mother died a month later and was buried with her.[5]

Cultural references[edit]

Due to the peculiar circumstances of the crime, there have been a number of media treatments of the Marroquín case. The murder provided part of a 2004 episode called "Broken Trust" in the series The New Detectives.[1] The investigation into her murder was covered in "Flower Drum Murder", a 2015 episode of Murder Book, a true crime television series.[5] This case was used as the plot of an episode of NYPD Blue, "Roll Out the Barrel" (April 25, 2000).[11] The case was depicted in "A Voice from Beyond", a 2000 episode of the true crime series Forensic Files.[9] The murder was dramatized in the Investigation Discovery series Grave Secrets, Season 2, Episode 1 in an episode entitled, "Beneath the Stairs" first airing on November 14, 2017.[12] Yet another treatment of the case was an episode called "Lady in a Barrel" in Oxygen's series Buried in the Backyard, originally aired on June 17, 2018.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Broken Trust". The New Detectives. Season 9. November 13, 2004. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  2. ^ a b John T. McQuiston (September 14, 1999). "Body in Barrel Is Believed to Be Woman Who Vanished in '69". The New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Kevin Krause (September 30, 1999). "Body Is Identified, Linked To West Boca". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Kieran Crowely (September 14, 1999). "LONG-AGO AFFAIR LATEST TWIST IN BARREL-SLAY MYSTERY". New York Post. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Flower Drum Murder". Murder Book. Season 2. November 5, 2015. Investigation Discovery. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  6. ^ Robert Gearty and Corky Siemazsko (September 30, 1999). "Woman In Barrel Id'd 30-year-old Murder Mystery". NY Daily News. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Robert McFadden (September 13, 1999). "Suicide Adds to Mystery Of Corpse Found in Barrel". The New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d "A Voice from Beyond". Forensic Files. Season 5. October 3, 2000. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  9. ^ Oscar Corral (October 2, 1999). "'I Had a Dream ... She Was Trapped Inside a Barrel' / Mother of slain woman mourns for long-lost daughter". Newsday. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  10. ^ "Roll Out the Barrel". NYPD Blue. Season 7. April 25, 2000. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  11. ^ "Beneath the Stairs". Grave Secrets. Season 2. November 14, 2017. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  12. ^ "Lady in a Barrel". Buried in the Backyard. Season 1. June 17, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.