Mom Still Seeking Answers Months After Daughter Found Dead in Breezy Point

By Aidan Gardiner and Murray Weiss  on May 23, 2013 6:57am

 The death of Marisha Cheong, whose body was discovered in February, was ruled a homicide on May 6.
The death of Marisha Cheong, whose body was discovered in February, was ruled a homicide on May 6.
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Courtesy of L.J. Balkaran

QUEENS — They don't know how she died — but they know it was murder.

About three months after Marisha Cheong's lifeless, pajama-clad body was found bound in a  Breezy Point marsh, the medical examiner's office determined her death was caused by "homicidal violence of an unknown type."

A source said that the 24-year-old's body was too decomposed for the medical examiner, which made its ruling on May 6, to make an accurate determination. The investigation is ongoing.

The mysteries surrounding the Long Island University student's death have frustrated both investigators and her family.

"It's frustrating. I don't know anything," the woman's mother, Bibi Ali, said Wednesday. "You wake up every morning and you don't know what's going on. Why did your child disappear? It's so hard for me."

Cheong's body was discovered on Saturday, Feb. 16, about two months after she disappeared from her Jamaica home.

Her live-in boyfriend, L.J. Balkaran, initially emerged as a person of interest, with family calling him overbearing and controlling.

But as the months ticked by, no arrests were made. Balkaran was questioned several times and released. Sources said he has a solid alibi.

Balkaran insisted at the time that he had nothing to do with his girlfriend's death and was wracked with grief. He said that prior to her disappearance on Dec. 19, he had hoped to propose to the aspiring interior designer at her favorite restaurant in City Island.

Ali spoke with investigators Friday, but they and a police spokesmen said there were no major developments in Cheong's case.

"I really want to know what happened to my daughter and why it’s taking so long. That’s all, really," Ali said. "If the public can help, if they know anything, they should come forward."

With reporting by Trevor Kapp.

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