SOUTH OZONE PARK — A week after the body of 24-year-old student Marisha Cheong washed up on a Queens shoreline, her family and friends mourned her death at a funeral service on Saturday.
Dozens gathered for an Islamic service of prayers and readings at Bergen Funeral Services on Rockaway Boulevard, including her family and close friends, with the exclusion of one person she was particularly close to, live-in boyfriend L.J. Balkaran, 26, PIX 11 reported.
The Long Island University student went missing on Dec. 19, from the home she shared with Balkaran, a man that Cheong's family members suspect of being involved in her disappearance.
After a two-month manhunt, Cheong washed up Feb. 16 along a Breezy Point beach, wearing pajama pants and with her hands bound by green rope.
"I just keep thinking about her. It's not fair," said Sarah Profeta, a friend, to PIX 11 at the service. "Why would somebody do that to her?"
Profeta said Balkaran would not have been welcome at the ceremony even if he had shown up.
“I think it would be safer for him that he wouldn’t be here," she told the station. "There’s a lot of hatred and anger in people’s hearts. And the mom, I feel, did not want to mourn with him.”