By Arielle Dollinger
A community will bury one of its teenagers tomorrow morning, after a Walt Whitman High School senior was stabbed to death and found lying in a Huntington Station street late Sunday night.
Maggie Rosales, 18, was found on Lynch Street just before 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 12, police said; she had been stabbed in the torso and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Suffolk County Medical Examiner.
“While the issue is a police matter and we are not privy to the details of their investigation, we are joined in the grief of Maggie’s tragic passing… The thoughts and prayers of our school district community remain with her family during this incredibly difficult time,” reads a statement released by the South Huntington School District. “Our high school team is prepared with grief counselors and will be on hand… to assist students, staff, and parents who might be in need.”
Rosales appears in the freshman section of the 2011 Walt Whitman High School yearbook, peeking out from behind thick black bangs.
An employee of a deli on Depot Road, just outside of the caution tape police used to block the crime scene during investigation on Monday, said that the incident is nothing unheard of.
“This is Huntington; always happens something,” he said. “It’s like the Wild West.”
The summer has seen its share of violence in Huntington Station. A June 28 stabbing left Huntington Station resident Luis Ramos-Rodriguez, 38, wounded on the ground behind Melissa Restaurant on New York Avenue. Huntington Station resident Larry Collins was found wounded on the front lawn of his home on July 5 and was later pronounced dead.
The killing prompted many to voice concerns about violence in the Station.
Huntington resident Greg Wagner wrote in a letter to the editor of this newspaper that he has “stood in front of the town board and urged them to make our town safer.”
“Is this just ‘Station violence’ that we have grown immune to?” he asks. “What if this happened in Huntington Bay? Do you think we would get the same feeble response we get now?”
Following a March 2010 shooting, Huntington Station resident Jennifer LaVertu began a four-year-and-counting effort “to stop the crime and the murders in Huntington station.”
LaVertu, who founded the Greater Huntington Civic Group and the Parents of Huntington Facebook group, is one of many who have expressed disappointment with the town’s response to Rosales’ death.
“In four years, we have done anything and everything to ask our town officials to advocate for our schools,” she said. “And if they would’ve acted, then this little girl would not be dead.”
The group has since held “countless rallies,” met with Second Precinct Commanding Officer Inspector Edward Brady and attended town board meetings, she said.
“They [town officials] keep saying it’s not their job, but they keep forgetting that their job is to advocate for us,” she said.
LaVertu did not know the Rosales family, but said that she is moved by the story for both her community and her daughters.
“I’m a mom first,” she said. “And the reason that this moved me is because somebody’s child was killed and it could’ve been mine.”
Town Spokesman A.J. Carter said that the town would not comment on LaVertu’s statements.
“This is a matter that’s being investigated by the Suffolk County police department,” Carter said. “The town is trying to stay on top of this as best we can.”
He said the town has been in communication with police to see what information police can share without compromising the investigation.
A funeral service for Rosales will take place on Friday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m. at A.L. Jacobsen Funeral Home, Inc. 1380 New York Ave., Huntington Station 11746. Viewings were held Wednesday, Oct. 15 and will continue Thursday, Oct. 16 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.