A mother’s body was found stuffed in a sports bag near a popular Forest Hills walking trail early on Saturday – and her 13-year-old son was questioned and released, police said.
The grisly find in the usually quiet, upscale neighborhood of Queens has rattled locals.
The body of Orsolya Gaal, 51, was found inside the sports bag just after 8 a.m., and police found a trail of blood leading to his Juno Street home, they said.
Police were then seen breaking into Gaal’s stately Tudor-style home, located between Ascan and 72nd Avenue. Neighbors said Gaal’s youngest son was taken away in handcuffs shortly after the body was discovered.
The city medical examiner will determine Gaal’s cause of death.
Law enforcement sources said the teenager from a house on Juno Street, less than half a mile from the scene, was interviewed at the local police station in connection with the case. Her father was reportedly on his way to the train station, the source said.
Reached by phone, Gaal’s husband, Howard Klein, told the Post he was “in the midst of a terrible experience.”
The businessman, who recently tweeted that he was traveling with an eldest son and posted to social media from Portland, Oregon at 1:36 a.m. Friday, said he was at an airport preparing to return to New York.
“[My son] Leo is safe. Thank God [my son] is safe,” he said of his youngest child on Saturday, adding that “his family’s lives are at stake.”
Klein did not respond when asked if her younger son had been questioned by police.
“There are concerns about our safety,” the man said. “Our lives are in danger.
He did not specify.
The matter is still under investigation, said a police source, who noted that there were cameras along the road from the Juno Street house to the area where the body was dumped. .
“Something is wrong. But there are cameras along the way,” the source said. “They’ll say if it’s an adult or a child.”
The boy, just 13, was released on Saturday evening, cops said, who did not disclose which adult took custody of the child.
The nightmarish discovery upended an otherwise peaceful Saturday morning in the area.
Glenn Van Nostrand, 51, came across the gruesome scene while walking his two dogs in the nearby forest park.
At first, Van Nostrand thought the Bauer Rolling Duffle Bag had just been thrown away.
But his two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Philip and Iris, became so agitated upon approaching it that he decided to look inside.
“They are hunting dogs,” Van Nostrand told the Post. “They see the world through their noses.”
When he opened the bag, he saw a foot, then a hip, still attached, he said.
“But to me it looked like a mannequin,” he said. “It didn’t look very meaty. It was more like a crash test dummy. I thought maybe it was equipment used for something. I thought nothing of it.
Then, Van Nostrand said, he saw black ankle-length jeans, a belt and a woman’s waist. He only saw the blood on the other side of the bag after he opened it, he said. The body was in a fetal position, he said, adding that the bag had wheels.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God,’ and I called the police at 8:05 a.m. and said there was a body in that bag,'” he said.
Once the detectives arrived, Van Nostrand dropped his dogs off at his house before heading down to the police station to make a full report. But as he tried to walk home, his dogs had other ideas.
“They kept shooting me,” he said.
The dogs led him to a location about 100 yards from where the body in the bag was found, on Metropolitan Avenue near Jackie Robinson Drive, where apparently fresh bloodstains were found.
“Some of the cops followed me and the dogs,” he added.
Sources confirmed that the duffel bag had leaked blood and authorities were investigating a trace of blood in the area leading to the Juno Street home.
“It’s shocking,” Van Nostrand said. “My personal feeling is a broken heart for anyone. My heart was in my throat the whole time.
Neighbors close to the Juno Street home said the family there was nice and apparently normal.
Nicola Blankson said the family had lived in the house for about nine years and called the mother back.
“She lived her life and made sure her children were well cared for like any mother would,” Blankson said. “It’s the last thing I expect to wake up to in the morning. Waking up to this is simply devastating.
“It’s the last thing I expect to wake up to in the morning. Waking up to this is simply devastating.
A neighbor who wouldn’t give her name told the Post that the family were “very nice people.”
“This morning there were a lot of cops,” she said. “I knew something was wrong because I saw so many dozen cops in the neighborhood.”
The neighbor described Gaal as a “stay-at-home mom. She spent a lot of time with the children.
A local resident said she was scared.
“It’s creepy. As a woman, it’s scary. You listen to real crime stuff and you don’t want to see it in real life, especially in your neighborhood,” horrified resident Linda Gorniaczyk said at the scene. of the crime.
A resident said she was already planning to move to Florida before the chilling discovery – and is now looking forward to leaving New York
“It’s absolutely horrifying,” event planner Mara Newman told The Post. “Nothing like that would happen in this neighborhood. People pay a lot of money to live in Forest Hills. I have a stomach ache. I don’t feel safe. I will not walk here at night. I can’t believe there is a . . . body thrown to the side of the road.
Additional reporting by Larry Celona and Georgett Roberts