2 Bodies Found in Waters of Central Park

Two scuba divers entered the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park near East 88th Street on Wednesday. A body was found in the Pond near 59th Street and Fifth Avenue on Wednesday morning, the day after another corpse was discovered in the reservoir. (Karsten Moran for The New York Times)

The bodies floated to the surface on consecutive days, macabre signposts of suffering amid the spring foliage in Central Park.

Around noon on Tuesday, a park worker spotted a man’s body, naked and badly decomposed, in the vast Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir near East 86th Street. Around 7:20 a.m. on Wednesday, more than a mile south, a man’s body bobbed to the surface of the Pond, this one clothed only in pants and looking as though it had not been in the water as long.

Almost every year, the break in weather at the beginning of spring brings dead bodies to the surface of New York’s rivers and harbor, the disquieting result of speeding decomposition in warm waters. But floaters, as the police call such cases, are much rarer in Central Park.

The discoveries this week drew hordes of investigators, rattling some tourists and joggers in a park where crime is rare but where any signs of tragedy attract a lot of attention.

Late Wednesday morning, the New York Police Department’s chief of detectives, Robert K. Boyce, said investigators did not believe a crime had been committed in either man’s death. In neither case was there any sign of trauma on the body.

“There’s no signs of criminality as of now to make this anything other than coincidence,” Chief Boyce said of the two bodies. “But it is unusual for the park.”

The city medical examiner’s office on Wednesday did an autopsy on the first body, but said no determination had been made regarding the cause and manner of death, pending further examination and police inquiries. The body recovered on Wednesday was expected to be further examined on Thursday.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Benjamin Mueller and Emily Palmer