A body found washed up on a Breezy Point beach Saturday was that of a 24-year-old Long Island University student named Marisha Cheong, who’s been missing since Dec. 19, police said on Monday. Her hands and feet had been tied with green rope and she was wearing pajama bottoms, which her family said was unusual. “She doesn’t go anywhere with her pajamas on,” Cheong’s mother told the New York Times. A video camera caught Cheong walking into the Jamaica, Queens house she shared with her boyfriend, Latchman Balkaran, on Dec. 19 and leaving with someone five minutes later, DNAinfo reports. Police questioned Balkaran when Cheong disappeared and again when her body was found, according to the Times, and haven’t labeled him a person of interest. But Cheong’s family certainly suspects him.
“I want him to tell me what he did, how she ended up on the beach. He knows. He has to know,” Cheong’s mother, Bibi Ali, told the news site. Ali and one of Cheong’s cousins described Balkaran as jealous, “obsessive,” and “just a little too possessive” of Cheong. But Balkaran told DNAinfo he had nothing to do with her disappearance, and said, “I want to find who did this.” He said he last saw her when she left the house early on Dec. 19, and that they carried on an argument via text through the morning. “The texts were suspicious,” he told DNAinfo. “They didn’t sound like her — just the wording. Little things like that. She would normally call me ‘Babe’ or ‘Stinky Booboo.’ She used another name.” The family had set up a Facebook page to help find her, and offered a $5,000 reward.