The death of Lauren Daverin was deemed to be a homicide, but Nassau County police released few details about how she died. An autopsy was expected to determine a cause of death.
A friend of Daverin told reporters he discovered her body Thursday night on a footbridge that crosses over Merrick Road in Rockville Centre after hanging out with her and other friends earlier in the day.
"I was with her earlier on in the day and then I left to go hang out with other people, and I came back to see if she was still here," said David Paiz. "I came back and I saw her dead body, so I called 911."
Paiz said he'd left Daverin with three others on the bridge, including her boyfriend. When he returned, the others were gone and there was a trail of blood near Daverin's naked body.
"I'm figuring maybe she was beaten," said Paiz. "She was in a very uncomfortable, awkward position."
Inspector Kenneth Lack, a police spokesman, declined to discuss whether detectives had identified a suspect.
Members of the woman's family had no comment when they were approached by reporters at Daverin's home and requested privacy.
About a dozen friends hugged and wept near the site where the woman's body was believed to have been found. The footbridge was strewn with empty beer cartons and other trash on Friday afternoon. A bouquet of white roses and a white candle were left at the entrance to the bridge. Some said bloodstains could still be seen on the pavement.
"She was just a great person," Emily Westermann said. "She loved everybody, everybody loved her. She had a whole bunch of friends. I don't know why this happened to her, how this happened to her, but she didn't deserve that.
"I hope they catch whoever did this because it's a horrible way to die."
Samantha Maselli said she had last seen Daverin earlier this summer.
"I can't believe it," she said. "She was very beautiful and I don't get why this had to happen to her."