A young woman’s alleged murderer has been arrested in Suffolk County, more than two years after police found her dead body in a nature preserve, shocking her community.
The Suffolk County Police Department announced on Thursday that they had charged 28-year-old Fernando Romualdo with second-degree murder in the case of Sarah Strobel, whose lifeless body was found in the Froehlich Farm Nature Preserve in October 2013.
Attorney information for the suspect, a Huntington Station resident, was not immediately available on the New York State court system’s online database.
Romualdo was incarcerated at the Mohawk Correctional Facility in upstate Rome on an unrelated charge but is now being held without bail at the county jail in Riverhead. According to the New York State Department of Corrections’ inmate database, he was sentenced to three years for second-degree rape last year, with his earliest possible release date in March 2018.
The 23-year-old murder victim, herself a Huntington Station resident who lived just a few blocks away from the defendant, was discovered at the Huntington nature preserve, near West Rogues Path, shortly before 9 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2013. Police said that day that a person walking on a path in the park noticed the body of an adult female off to the side of the path and called police. Authorities later identified her as Strobel and deemed her death criminal in nature.
Shortly after she was found dead, a friend of Strobel’s said the walking path was a favorite hiking spot of the victim’s. That friend, Taylor Friedman, helped organize a candlelight vigil to pay tribute to the young woman, a 2008 Walt Whitman High School graduate in the South Huntington school district.
“Sarah was a free spirit and a wise soul,” Friedman said at the time. “She lived her life to the fullest and made the best of any situation whether it was bad or good.”
Strobel was also honored in July 2015, when Huntington Station residents came together to honor several youths who had been killed over the last few years and dedicated both trees and a memorial stone to those victims at Depot Road Park.
In addition to Strobel, the community remembered the lives of 18-year-old Maggie Rosales, who was found stabbed to death, lying on Lynch Street in October 2014, and 25-year-old Danny Carbajal, who was shot in the head outside his home in July 2014. While a Huntington Station man has been prosecuted for Rosales’ murder, Carbajal’s death remains unsolved.
The deaths spurred community efforts to make Huntington Station a safer place.