The 21-year-old man charged with raping and murdering a Riverhead woman earlier this month, and leaving her body in a parking lot on Route 58 in Riverhead, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder at his arraignment last Thursday morning.
Guillermo Alfonso Alvarado-Ajcuc, a Guatemala native who authorities said was in the country illegally and living in Riverhead, was arrested by Suffolk County Homicide Squad detectives on the evening of May 16 and charged with the murder of 29-year-old Mirian Yohana Garcia of Aquebogue, according to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office. Authorities said additional charges could be pending, and that the investigation was continuing.
Mr. Alvarado-Ajcuc allegedly raped Ms. Garcia sometime after meeting her at the Riverhead bar Sabor Latino on Saturday, May 5, and strangled her with a belt, according to officials representing Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. Officials did not reveal where the rape and murder took place. Ms. Garcia’s body was discovered on the morning of Monday, May 7, in the parking lot of the same shopping center as Sabor Latino.
The Suffolk County Homicide Squad referred all questions about the investigation to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office. In a previous interview, Lieutenant Jack Fitzpatrick, the commanding officer of the Suffolk Homicide Squad, said Ms. Garcia was last seen the Saturday night before her death at Sabor Latino. He said it was not clear if she was seen alive on Sunday.
Mr. Alvarado-Ajcuc, who was held overnight at Riverhead Town Police headquarters, was denied bail the next day in Riverhead Town Justice Court and remanded to the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside, where he still remains, authorities said. He is due to return to court on Tuesday, June 5, officials said.
Ms. Garcia, who recently moved to Aquebogue from Flanders, had been employed for the past four years at the Lighthouse Marina in Aquebogue. Regina Smith, the marketing director at the marina, described Ms. Garcia—who they called by her middle name, Yohana—as a hard worker and noted that her employment actually dates back almost a decade, explaining that she had worked there, on and off, over that time. Ms. Smith noted that Ms. Garcia’s sister, Zully Garcia Mancilla, is also a marina employee.
“I knew her from working with her,” Ms. Smith said. “She was a very hard worker and had a can-do attitude.”
She described Ms. Garcia as a sensitive woman who was always there for her family. After the death of her nephew earlier this year, Ms. Garcia was constantly by her sister’s side and taking care of her, according to Ms. Smith.
“She always had a smile on her face and she was always courteous,” Ms. Smith said. “She never said she couldn’t do something; it was always ‘yea, yea, yea.’”