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'Law & Order' Set in Inwood Hill Park Brings Flashbacks of Sarah Fox Murder

By Nigel Chiwaya | April 24, 2013 8:54am

INWOOD — A "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" filming brought back unpleasant memories of one of New York's most heart-wrenching unsolved crimes Tuesday.

The crew of the NBC show shot a scene involving the discovery of a woman's body in Inwood Hill Park, the site of the 2004 murder of Juilliard School of Music student Sarah Fox

In the scene, the fictional victim was found on a boat behind the park's Nature Center, a crew member told DNAinfo.com New York, adding that the script included the details that the fictional woman had been raped and beaten prior to her death.

Park-goers watched the fictional crime scene with interest, as actors dressed as police officers waded through water and an ambulance drove out of the park several times.

"Yeah, it hits close to home," said resident Eileen McGourty when told of the plot. "They've found people here."

"That's the nature of shows like this," said resident Barbara Reef, who watched the filming while walking her dog. "You always figure that there's going to be something gruesome happening."

The location of the scene and the choice of a female victim immediately brought to mind the Fox case. Fox, 21, disappeared while jogging in Inwood Hill Park on May 19, 2004. After a massive manhunt involving hundreds of police officers, Fox's body was discovered in a heavily wooded section of the park one week later, naked and with tulip petals scattered around her.

Fox's CD player was also found, but no fingerprints were discovered at the scene.

An Inwood resident, 47-year-old Dimitry Sheinman, became the prime suspect in the murder when he revealed to cops details of the case that only they or the killer would have known.

Sheinman, who claimed he was clairvoyant and used his supernatural powers to learn the information, moved to Africa for five years, returning last June and claiming the desire to help police and clear his name.

The murder remains unsolved to this day.

When asked if the scene was based on the Fox murder, one crew member replied: "It probably was. They just pick everything out of the newspapers and change the names."

Still, residents in the park didn't seem to mind the morbid subject.

"What happened [to Fox] could've happened anywhere," said Steve Frazer. "It's unfortunate, but I still feel like this is a safe park."

"It's another story now," added resident Michael Sheridan, who said he was a fan of "Law and Order. "

"It's good TV."