Mother of Woman Found Dead in Rockaways Clings to Final Text Messages

By Nicole Bode and Ben Fractenberg  on February 20, 2013 10:43am  | Updated on February 20, 2013 11:33am

NEW YORK CITY — The mother of the Queens college student found bound and floating in a Rockaways marshland over the weekend has been poring over their text message conversation from the day she went missing in a desperate attempt to figure out her mysterious death.

Bibi Ali, whose daughter Marisha Cheong, 24, went missing Dec. 19 before her body was found Feb. 16 in the Breezy Point marshland, has been going over the text messages she and her daughter sent back and forth in search of some clues about her death.

"I really want to know what happened to her," Ali said Tuesday at her Long Island home.

Ali said she's still troubled by the final correspondence she had with her daughter, via text message.

"mom am fine. I just need Little time to think. Am good," read the note sent from Marisha Cheong's phone to her mother on Dec. 19.

Cheong's body, clad in pajamas with her hands and feet tied, was badly decomposed. The office of the Medical Examiner has not yet released a cause of death.

Ali suggested the message was sent by somebody else, saying her daughter never called her "mom" — insisting that she only referred to her as "mommy."

She continued to wait for her daughter's body to be released Tuesday before making funeral plans, she said. She said she hoped her daughter's dad, who lives in Ghana, will be able to attend.

Investigators are still looking into the death, and initially spoke with Cheong's live-in boyfriend, L.J. Balkaran. He has been released without charges.

Ali said she believes Balkaran, who she described as "obsessive" and "controlling," was involved in her daughter's death. She said he would not be welcome at her daughter's funeral.

Balkaran reacted with sadness to the news he was not invited to the funeral or memorial.

"I'm still going to try and go," he told DNAinfo on Wednesday.

Balkaran said he is hoping the police investigation eases some of her anger toward him.

"I don't know what I can do," he said. "I hoping the detectives find out the truth, and she finds out who really did this."

Balkaran has denied having anything to do with her death, insisting he was ready to propose to Cheong before she went missing.

Ali said family and friends were giving her support and comfort.

"When everybody leaves I know it's going to affect me more," she said. "I won't be able to call [my daughter] and tell her to come over."

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