By Danny Schrafel
The death of Huntington’s Sarah Strobel, whose lifeless body was discovered Oct. 3, 2013 in the Froehlich Farm Nature Preserve, is being investigated as a homicide, the Suffolk County Police Department Second Precinct’s top cop confirmed at a community police meeting last week.
The comments by Second Precinct Inspector Edward Brady came after Strobel’s friends pushed him during the precinct’s monthly community meeting at the South Huntington Public Library for details on the investigation and to urge them to continue vigorously investigating the case.
Since last year, police have been largely tight-lipped about the investigation, only saying at the time that her death appeared to be “suspicious.” Confirmation from Brady that Strobel’s case was being treated as a homicide was a breakthrough for friends, desperate for information.
Brady told the audience that the investigation remains very much an active one, and that homicide detectives are “continually looking into this.”
“It has not fallen by the wayside,” he said. “There are leads they are following.”
Asked by friends of Strobel about persons of interest and/or suspects, Brady said detectives are “still working on people who she had contact with in the last days of her life.”
But details of progress in the investigation, he said, may be scant. Scarcity of released information is typically by design, Brady said, with hopes of ensuring a successful prosecution. Asked by an audience member if he knew Strobel’s cause of death, Brady said he knew but declined to share it.
Another audience member, honing in on the relatively quick arrest in the Oct. 12 stabbing death of Walt Whitman High School student Maggie Rosales, asked Brady why the Strobel case was still unsolved. Brady said that, in the Rosales case, investigators had a situation in which evidence was ample.
“With Sarah’s, the situation is different,” Brady said.
He also urged the public to have patience because, he said, homicide investigations can be lengthy and complex. A Crime Stoppers representative said he had just paid out a reward on a murder case dating back four years that had just been solved; Brady cited another that was solved two decades later.
“No homicide is taken lightly. We don’t handle one in a less serious fashion than another,” he said.
But Strobel’s friend Samantha Press was one of several who told Brady that a lack of feedback from police has made it feel as if Strobel’s death is being ignored. The lack of answers, she and others said, is what haunts them the most.
Press told Brady that, when she was plotting the course of her life, she always envisioned Strobel would be by her side.
“I remember that the friend I dreamt of having at my side through all these journeys is dead,” she said.
They became friends in 2008; Press said she was the “first person I could talk to about anything” and had a gift for making her laugh. Now, that person is gone, but the questions are not – and lingering still is an undying hope that her death was not in vain.