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May 22, 2019

Police identify body of woman found dead and set afire in Staten Island woods

November 26, 2018
The body of Yelena Rabkina was found near a Staten Island forest Sunday afternoon. (Facebook)

The charred, naked body found near a Staten Island forest Sunday has been identified as a woman recently reported missing, a law enforcement source said.

Yelena Rabkina, 29, left her Staten Island home on Nov. 18 and never returned.

Her family the next day reported her missing after friends and relatives couldn’t reach her on her cell phone.

On Sunday afternoon, kids walking through Long Pond Park — at Bartow Ave. and Eugene St. in Tottenville — found a partially decomposed body, police said.

Her identity was confirmed Monday by family members, but more tests need to be done to determine how she died, according to the Medical Examiner’s office.

Police aren’t sure if she was the victim of a crime. A police source said Rabkina had mental health issues.

“She’s a wonderful human being who would never hurt a fly,” said her close friend, Anastasia Vasilchuk. “I have no idea how this happened.”

Rabkina, who is believed to be about 30 years, graduated college about a year ago with a degree in anthropology and was looking for a job in that field, Vasilchuk said.

“She was doing really good,” the friend said. “It doesn’t add up.”

Vasilchuk, who had posted news of Rabkina’s disappearance on Facebook, on Monday posted the sad news and asked anyone with information about what happened to call her.

“As much as I’m fighting tears back and refuse to believe that this wonderful soul is no longer with me,” Vasilchuk wrote, “I must inform you that she has been found dead.”

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