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Mar 18, 2016 2:10 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Family Of Lilia Aucapina Meets With Southampton Town Officials To Discuss Investigation

Members of the Aucapina family and their attorney met with Southampton Town officials on Friday. Here, Maria Duchi, Ms. Aucapina's niece, explains her frustration with the investigation. ALISHA STEINDECKER
Mar 22, 2016 4:16 PM

The family of Lilia “Esperanza” Aucapina sat down with Southampton Town officials on Friday, seeking to learn more about the investigation into her death, which was ruled a suicide last month by the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office.

For more than two hours, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Southampton Town Police Chief Robert Pearce detailed the manpower and resources that went into the investigation. The information they provided included a three-page summary of the report from the coroner, as well as an 11-page police report.

Ms. Aucapina’s family now better understands the investigation, but many doubts remain, said Maria Duchi, Ms. Aucapina’s niece, after the meeting. “I believe what I have seen for years, the way she was,” she explained. “I still think she didn’t do what they say—suicide.”

The 40-year-old woman’s body was found hanging from a tree near her Sagaponack home in November, more than six weeks after she was reported missing and after a search of the area by several police departments, as well as K-9 units, had yielded nothing. Her family has repeatedly said that her death was too quickly ruled a suicide by police, and that investigators did not consider other possibilities.

Foster Maer, the senior litigation attorney for LatinoJustice, a civil rights organization that has been investigating Ms. Aucapina’s death, said members of the group were presented information that would support the conclusion that her death was a suicide. Nevertheless, he said, the six weeks it took to find her body could have “compromised” the investigation.

“In our own mind, we don’t have an opinion as to what the cause of death is. We are going to continue to look at this documentation,” Mr. Maer said.

Mr. Schneiderman said he understands the family’s doubts but said that all the evidence points to a death by suicide. The medical examiner is “very highly regarded, and he is very highly thorough, and the conclusions were ‘suicide by hanging,’ not just ‘hanging,’” Mr. Schneiderman said. “He went so far as to determine that it was self-inflicted. They obviously did a lot of forensic work.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Maer said he believes that the coroner ruled Ms. Aucapina’s death a suicide because of a lack of information suggesting otherwise. “There is no affirmative evidence that she committed suicide, but they didn’t find evidence of criminality,” he said of the coroner’s report.

“Those six weeks, I am still angry about it—I am still upset, the family is still upset,” Ms. Duchi said. “It is weird it took so long to find the body.”

The Aucapina family has alleged that they were treated differently because they are Latino, and that if the victim had been non-Hispanic, other options might have been explored.

Ms. Duchi said the divide between Latinos and the rest of the Southampton Town community is too wide. There must be a way to bridge that gap, she said. “I want to be a part of something like that—I told them,” she said after the meeting.

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Cry "Cover-up" and let loose the dogs of conspiracy!

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Mar 18, 16 2:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
;A thorough search of the area that yielded nothing.yet six weeks later body found close to deceased home,please explain..the direction of the wind is not good enough.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Mar 18, 16 5:46 PM
Apparently the Suffolk County Medical Examiner does not have the forensic technology necessary to conduct a better investigation. And the District Attorney does not have sufficient motivation or whatever else might be necessary to conduct a fair, full and complete investigation. If there are other deaths of Latino women by the same method - would that will prompt them? Heaven forbid - but enough information about serial killers - or murderers in general is out there - and clearly they do not stop ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Mar 20, 16 12:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
" The Wicked Flee When None Pursueth " - Proverbs 28:1

Am no bible thumper - this is quoted at the beginning of the remake of the film True Grit - and isn't it the truth?
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Mar 22, 16 3:41 PM