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Teen Girl Found Dead in Gerritsen Beach Was Asphyxiated, Authorities Say

By  Ben Fractenberg Murray Weiss Paul DeBenedetto and Julie  Shapiro | May 2, 2013 4:39pm | Updated on May 2, 2013 8:26pm

BROOKLYN — The death of 14-year-old Shaniesha Forbes has been ruled a homicide, nearly four months after her naked, burned body was found in Gerritsen Beach.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Thursday that Forbes died of homicidal asphyxiation, officials said. The autopsy results were first reported by The New York Times.

Police have identified some of the last people to see Forbes before she was found dead with burns on her naked body near Gerritsen and Lois avenues on Jan. 6., and cops are now looking to question them, sources said.

No one had been arrested as of Thursday evening.

Authorities were working for months to determine the teen's cause of death after it was discovered that the burns on her hands, arms and legs were not serious enough to be life-threatening, sources said.

Forbes was a student at the Academy for Young Writers in East New York, and her family said she had dreamed of one day becoming a nurse.

Outside the family's Flatlands home Thursday evening, Sandra Price, 42, Forbes' mother, said she was devastated to lose her young daughter.

"She was an innocent person," Price said. "She was a happy person, trusting. She trusts too many people. And that's what they do with her trust."

Daisy Smith, 73, Forbes' grandmother, recalled that her granddaughter often accompanied her to the doctor or to pick up medications at the pharmacy.

"She was a very good girl," Smith said. "Anywhere I wanted to go, she would go with me."

Asked to describe the past few months, Smith said, "The whole family has grieved, sleepless nights."

Forbes' other grandmother, Carmeta Gibson, 64, said she was frustrated with the lack of leads in the case and hopes the Medical Examiner's results will help put pressure on the police to find her granddaughter's killer.

"They were just sweeping it under the rug," Gibson said.

Price, who said her friends, family and church were helping her cope, urged anyone who had information about Forbes' death to come forward.

"If they saw something, they should say something," Price said. "It could be their child someday."