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Mar 3, 2016 5:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Lilia Aucapina's Death Ruled A Suicide By Medical Examiner

Mar 8, 2016 12:49 PM

The Suffolk County medical examiner has officially ruled Lilia “Esperanza” Aucapina’s death a suicide by hanging.

Last week, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman sat down with officers from the Southampton Town Police Department to go over the department’s final report and gain an understanding of the investigation into the death of Ms. Aucapina, who was found hanging from a tree close to her Sagaponack home in November.

“If she didn’t commit suicide, the theory is that someone took her life and then staged it as a hanging,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “And that just doesn’t check out.”

Mr. Schneiderman will meet with the Aucapina family this week, as well as with LatinoJustice, a civil rights organization that has been investigating her death. He said he will discuss the medical examiner’s report with them and answer any questions the family might have.

Ms. Aucapina was missing for more than six weeks before hunters found her body on November 21. The discovery came after a thorough police search near her home had yielded nothing. Her family has repeatedly said that once her body was found, her death was quickly ruled a suicide by investigators, and they did not consider other possibilities.

About a month before Ms. Aucapina disappeared, she had filed a petition in Family Court for an order of protection against her husband, Carlos Aucapina, which documented specific times of emotional and sexual abuse. She was granted that stay-away order just a few days before she went missing on October 10.

On that morning, Mr. Aucapina actually violated the order of protection when he confronted his wife and a male friend in the parking lot of the Meeting House Lane Medical Practice in Wainscott. He left without incident when her friend called the police.

“I am convinced that the police did an excellent job,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “Within four hours of them getting a call about a missing person, they were already pursuing a call about a possible homicide. They very aggressively pursued every avenue.”

Mr. Schneiderman added that detectives from the Southampton Town Police Department were in contact with Suffolk County Police Homicide detectives during the investigation. However, he said, “It wasn’t a homicide, so the county did not step in.”

Although Ms. Aucapina’s case may be closed, Mr. Schneiderman said he wants to better connect with the Latino community so they do not feel alienated. Throughout Ms. Aucapina’s investigation, her family felt the case was not given as much attention or respect because she was Latina.

Ms. Aucapina’s niece, Maria Duchi, had said she believed law enforcement had “something against Hispanics.”

“If large sections of the community don’t have faith in local law enforcement, that is something I need to address,” Mr. Schneiderman said, adding that he needs to “find out where those perceptions are coming from.”

Perhaps forums or larger discussions could help to rectify the problem, he said. The bottom line is, he continued, is that better communication with the Latino community is needed.

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Let's have independent Medical Examiner look at the evidence.
By harbor (396), East Hampton on Mar 4, 16 8:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
Not if dead but why dead? The odor from a rotting body would have been detected by animals and humans. Very suspicious.
By harbor (396), East Hampton on Mar 4, 16 10:29 AM
> "...a thorough police search near her home had yielded nothing."

Just how thorough could that search have been?

Seems like some has some 'splaining to do.
By Frank Wheeler (1811), Northampton on Mar 4, 16 9:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
Can't you all just accept the answer. Unreal everyone needs to drag it on. She's dead. Grieve and move on. Stop making it a Hispanic thing or making up scenarios of what happened. Accept the facts.
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Mar 4, 16 11:37 AM
SCPD has the facts. You dont. Accept it.
By nickykane (4), bx on Mar 5, 16 3:03 PM
The question remains why did the thorough POLICE search yield nothing...the direction the wind was blowing just does not cut it....
By watchdog1 (522), Southampton on Mar 5, 16 8:31 AM
SCPD are in it for the money. Nothing more. Nothing less.
By nickykane (4), bx on Mar 5, 16 2:58 PM
Even if she did commit suicide - which seems unlikely given her adoration for her children - the abusive husband violated his order of protection and was within 50 feet of her talking to her the very day of her death - and is therefore implicated somehow in this woman's wrongful death. And it is also suspicious that another woman of the same ethnic background was found dead in the woods in Springs - also hanged. It simply does not seem coincidental. God rest her soul and protect her two children ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Mar 10, 16 1:05 PM
bay street, sag harbor,