Suspect in Missing 20-Year-Old's Death Told Police He Strangled Her After Sex in Park: Kelly

The body of Megan Marotte was found in Willowbrook Park Thursday

Monday, Aug 19, 2013  |  Updated 8:38 PM EDT
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A 27-year-old man faces a murder charge in the death of 20-year-old woman whose body was found inside a Staten Island park. Tracie Strahan reports.

NBC 4 New York

A 27-year-old man faces a murder charge in the death of 20-year-old woman whose body was found inside a Staten Island park. Tracie Strahan reports.

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A 27-year-old man faces a murder charge in the death of 20-year-old woman whose body was found inside a Staten Island park.

The body of Megan Marotte was found in Willowbrook Park Thursday after someone reported a foul smell. Marotte was reported missing by her brother, with whom she lived, on Aug. 3. 

Police arrested Pedro Martin, of Staten Island, Sunday and charged him with murder in her death.

"I want him to know his actions on that night destroyed a lot of people," said Marotte's grieving uncle, Sean Lichota. "A lot of people." 

"She was the sweetest kid, she wouldn't hurt anybody," Lichota said of Marotte. 

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said detectives found Marotte and the suspect on surveillance footage as they canvassed hotels and rest-stops near the crime scene earlier in the investigation, and started showing the photo of the suspect around. One person they showed the photo to identified Martin as the suspect, though the individual used a nickname, not the suspect's full name. 

Detectives were then able to track Martin down on Facebook using the nickname the person had used to identify the photo, and matched his online photo to the one captured by surveillance cameras.

Kelly said Martin told authorities he met Marotte in front of a pizza parlor the day she died, and they tried to get a room at a hotel, but the hotel staff wouldn't rent them one, apparently because Martin has a history there.

Martin and Marotte then went to a nearby park to have sex, and he strangled her, Kelly said he told police.

Linda Perez called 911 after she was overcome by the overwhelming stench in the park last Thursday. She'd seen the missing person fliers for Marotte and feared the worst.

"They asked me what the emergency was, and I said 'look, there's no emergency, but we're from Staten Island. There's a girl out here that's missing, and I'm inside a wooded area that has got a smell unlike anything I've ever smelled in my life,'" said Perez. 

The suspect appears to have no criminal history, Kelly said.  

Information on an attorney for him was not immediately available.

-- Tracie Strahan contributed to this report. 

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