Mysterious Death of 25-Year-Old NYC Volunteer Ruled a Homicide

No arrests have been made

What to Know

  • The death of a 25-year-old woman whose body was found in a Staten Island park last month has been ruled a homicide
  • Ola Salem, of Staten Island, was found unresponsive in Bloomingdale Park on Oct. 24; The ME ruled the cause of death as asphyxia
  • The young woman volunteered at a shelter for Muslim women in Brooklyn; she's been described as a beautiful soul with an infectious laugh

Authorities have ruled the death of a woman who was found in a Staten Island park late last month a homicide, though no details have emerged about who killed her -- or why. 

The body of Ola Salem, of Staten Island, was found on a Thursday morning in October near Pleasant Plains' Bloomingdale Park. Salem, 25, was fully clothed but unconscious when she was found in a wooded area around 9:30 a.m. Oct 24. 

No arrests have been made. However, the medical examiner ruled that Salem died of asphyxia including neck compression. 

When her body was first identified, friends and loved ones were shattered, describing Salem as a "beautiful soul" with an infectious laugh. She worked at a shelter for Muslim women in Brooklyn and was the group's first ever volunteer. 

People who work there said she dedicated her life to protecting victims of domestic violence -- and those who knew and loved Salem were stunned by her death. 

The investigation is ongoing.

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