NYPD looks for answers in death of woman found burned on Staten Island

“We want to make sure we do not miss anything in this case.”

Police are trying to piece together the last seven days of a woman’s life after her body was found burned and only partially clothed in a Staten Island park last month.

The woman, 30-year-old Yelena Rabkina, was found by a group of kids at about 1 p.m. Nov. 25 inside the Long Pond Park in Tottenville, near the corner of Bartow Avenue and Eugene Street. She was miles from her Arrochar home, a week after having gone missing.

An autopsy was completed, but there was no conclusive cause of death, Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said on Nov. 27. The final determination of her cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner’s office, which is working with detectives on Staten Island, Assistant Chief of Police Patrick Conry said on Nov. 28.

"Thus far, we have uncovered no information that points to a crime having occurred," Conry added. "We continue to investigate all leads in an attempt to determine the exact cause of the fire."

Police are looking at the final days of Rabkina’s life, seven days after she was reported missing in a neighboring precinct to where she lived.

"We’re starting at that location and trying to fill in the gaps," Shea said during an unrelated news conference at police headquarters on Tuesday. "We are retracing her steps… We want to make sure we do not miss anything in this case."

Rabkina took a small amount of money from her grandmother on the day she was reported missing and got on a bus bound for Brooklyn, Shea said Tuesday at an NYPD press conference. She spent only minutes in Brooklyn before getting on a bus to head back to Staten Island, he said.

Shea said a piece of a plastic gas can was found near her body and there appears to be evidence that an accelerant was used. But he added that it is difficult to say how long Rabkina’s body was in the park, noting dramatic weather swings.

"What we are focusing on is that seven-day gap from when she left the residence until she was discovered," he said.

Alison Fox