Body of pregnant Reyna Marroquin found in a barrel under house after 30 years in Grave Secrets

This week Grave Secrets examines the murder of Reyna Marroquin in a case that took over 30 years to solve.

1999 and some new homeowners were getting ready to move into their house in Nassau County, New York, when the man organising the sale spotted an old barrel in the crawl space. When it was opened he was horrified to find the mummified remains of a young woman.

A forensic examination showed her to be of Hispanic origin, in her late 20s and was nine months pregnant. She was around 5’0 tall and had some quite unusual work done to her teeth and had died from blunt force trauma to her head.

Also in the barrel were two rings, a locket, dye and an address book. The dye matched up with the purpose of the barrel which had been made to transport it and the outside showed it had been sent to a plastic company that made artificial flowers. One of the men who owned the company, Howard B. Elkins, had also been the owner of the house.

The address book was examined and although it was badly damaged, Elkins name and number were found as was that of a woman.  The woman turned out to be a friend of Marroquin and was still alive, providing some vital information to detectives.

At the time of her original disappearance in 1969 Marroquin had confided in this friend that she’d been having an affair with Elkins, for whom she worked. She also said that having told his wife about it, she was now afraid for her life. She asked her friend to come over but when she arrived the house was empty with warm food still on the table, Marroquin was never seen alive again.

Police tracked Elkins down and interviewed him. He proved to be difficult and they told him that they would get a DNA sample to see if it matched the unborn fetus.

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However, before they could continue the investigation Elkins took a shotgun and killed himself. DNA testing showed that he was almost certainly the father of Marroquin’s unborn child.

Grave Secrets airs on Tuesdays at 9:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.

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