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‘Scorpion tattoo’ Staten Island murder victim identity revealed 30 years later; was N.J. woman

A woman murdered more than 30 years ago in Staten Island in a case that stumped detectives for decades was publicly identified Tuesday as a mother from New Jersey whose daughter was 2 years old at the time of her death.

Using advanced forensic genealogy unavailable for years after the victim’s death, prosecutors said it was Christine Belusko, from Morris County, New Jersey, who was bludgeoned, strangled and set on fire before her body was discarded in the Ocean Breeze neighborhood on Sept. 20, 1991.

Police were unable to identify her through traditional methods like fingerprints or police sketches. As a result Belusko became known by a scorpion tattoo on her right buttock.

A weapon found at the scene — a hammer stained with blood and the name “Loyd L” scratched into the handle — also failed to lead to any suspects.

But the advancement of forensic genealogy over the years led local authorities to submit her DNA and dental records to the FBI in 2010. Eleven years later, in April 2021, genealogy researchers discovered Belusko’s identity.

“This is a story about a brutal and depraved murder, depraved acts of violence that killed this young girl in her prime,” Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon at a news conference.

“And the dumping of her body in a lonely and desolate field on the east shore of Staten Island exactly 31½ years ago.”

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McMahon said the breakthrough also gave investigators several other clues — Belusko’s last known address, the identity of her daughter, and Belusko’s whereabouts during the time leading up to her death.

The authorities contacted Belusko’s family members — including her brother — in June 2021.

Investigators are also appealing to the public to help them contact the victim’s daughter, Krista Nicole Belusko, who is now 33.

Although the identity of Belusko’s killer is still a mystery, McMahon said it is likely that she was murdered by someone who knew her.

“Given the facts of the case and what transpired and the way in which she was murdered, it does not seem random,” McMahon said.

“This was someone who knew her, it’s an intimate type of murder.”

He declined to say what she was doing on Staten Island the day she was killed.

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