Body Found In East Hampton Woods; Man Searching For Answers In Death Of Sister-In-Law

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A Springs man and his family are looking for answers regarding the death of his 21-year-old sister-in-law, whose body was found in the woods behind Bistrian’s sand mining pit off Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton on September 28.

Manuel Pucha said the body of Andrea Gabriella Armijos, covered in dirt, was found hanging from a tree, her sweater fashioned into a makeshift noose, early that Sunday morning when he and his family went into the woods searching for her. Ms. Armijos had been in the United States for just over a month at the time of her death and had plans to return to her native Ecuador with her sister at the end of December, Mr. Pucha said.

He said he last saw Ms. Armijos at approximately 7 a.m. on September 27 but grew concerned at around 9 p.m. that night when she didn’t return home. Mr. Pucha said he searched for Ms. Armijos on Saturday evening but could not locate the woman.

After a friend found Ms. Armijos’s body, Mr. Pucha said he contacted the East Hampton Town Police, but he said the department has not been helpful in providing the family answers about what, exactly, happened to Ms. Armijos.

“I never got any kind of report from the police,” he said on Tuesday. “We still haven’t heard anything from the police. I don’t know why … what’s going on here.”

East Hampton Town Police Captain Chris Anderson said he had not received any phone calls asking for information about the death, and that he would happily help if possible. The situation has not yet been deemed a suicide, he said, pending a report from the Suffolk County medical examiner.

No criminal activity is suspected in the death, said Capt. Anderson, but it can take months for the medical examiner’s office to determine an official cause of death. He said he could not release the name of the detective handling the investigation.

Mr. Pucha said he contacted Southampton attorney Jean Hazelton, initially on an unrelated issue, but later brought the death to her attention. Ms. Hazelton said she, too, has tried to contact East Hampton Town Police for more information on the death but has yet to receive any information.

Mr. Pucha said that prior to her death, Ms. Armijos had come home late, and covered in dirt, on the night of September 24. He then contacted police, who came to his home to check on Ms. Armijo’s well-being. The police conducted an interview, asking Ms. Armijo if she was all right, which Mr. Pucha translated. Ms. Armijos told police she was okay, and the cops left, according to Mr. Pucha. Her body was found four days later.

Capt. Anderson said he could not comment on the first police encounter with Ms. Armijos because he was unaware of it.

Ms. Armijos’s body was flown to Ecuador for a funeral service late last week, and will be flown back to the United States, to the Rivera Funeral Home in Queens, for additional services.

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