NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - On Tuesday, someone killed Nissa Mickens, 15, and left her in the street in front of a home in Brentwood, Long Island. On Wednesday, police believe they found the body of Nissa's friend, Kayla Cueva, 16, in the woods behind the same home.
According to family members and investigators, the killers likely beat Nissa to death and abducted Kayla while the two girls walked together through the area Tuesday.
"This is an act of savagery in our community," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said Thursday. He said that the girls died of blunt-force trauma, sustained injuries to the face and head, and suffered cutting wounds, perhaps consistent with gang-violence.
"The person or people who committed this crime are severely depraved," he said.
A basketball intended as a 16th birthday present that Nissa never received sits at the center of an impromptu memorial for the girls on Stahley Street, where neighbors found their bodies. In front of that memorial, Nissa's father embraced Kayla's father, who later kissed a photo of his murdered daughter.
Friends, family and strangers stood vigil Thursday as they did Tuesday, remembering the slain girls and leading a discussion about the prevalence of violence in this Brentwood community.
Police believe the murders could be gang-related and are offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest of those responsible. If you have information, call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.