By Danny Schrafel
Nine months later, the void is still profound for Cesar Rosales, the father of slain Walt Whitman High School senior Maggie Rosales.
“I know my daughter was a good person – a good girl. A good student. And she wanted to become a good citizen,” he said July 16. “But she was taken from us.”
His 18-year-old daughter was killed on Oct. 12, 2014. A neighbor, Adam Saalfield, is accused of stabbing her to death just blocks from her home. While Saalfield’s murder case was adjourned again on Wednesday, he will face those charges sooner than later if the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office has its way.
“The defense drives the calendar. The defense files the motions to limit evidence use at trial. The defense must meet the requirements set by the court in the motion calendar,” said Robert Clifford, spokesman for DA Thomas Spota. “We are ready for trial.”
The closure of an arrest and pending trial is something the families and friends of two recent Huntington Station murder victims – Daniel Carbajal, 25, shot dead a year ago today outside an East 9th Street home, and Sarah Strobel, found dead in the Froehlich Farms Preserve off of Oakwood Road on Oct. 3, 2013, are sorely lacking.
At Depot Road Park on July 16, an effort toward providing some closure emerged. The town dedicated a portion of Depot Road Park to the three, planting three Japanese maple trees and laying a plaque, inscribed with the message, “In loving memory of Sarah, Danny and Maggie – who continue to inspire our community.”
The dedication was coordinated through efforts by Rev. Kathleen Kufs of the Helping Hands Rescue Mission in Huntington Station and community activist Jim McGoldrick, both of whom spent months looking for a suitable spot. Once that location was found, Art Stone and Memorials in Kings Park donated the stone plaque. Keith Barrett, deputy director of Huntington’s General Services department, secured the trees, which were given by a person who was subdividing a property.
“This is a way of you and us continuing the memory of these individuals that were taken from us – taken from us, but not taken from any of our hearts,” Supervisor Frank Petrone said.
Their presence at the park will keep their memories alive and inspire others to do everything they can to make sure “nothing like this is going to happen again,” Councilwoman Susan Berland said. “They’re going to want to know – who was Sarah? Who was Danny? Who was Maggie? They’re going to ask those questions and their stories are going to go on for generations to come.”
And in the case of Samantha Press, that story is of her best friend, Sarah Strobel.
“She really inspired me, and she was taken way too soon,” she said.