BAY SHORE, N.Y. — When PIX11 returned with the New York State Police to the Suffolk County spot where a gruesome discovery was made 35 years ago, it was a rainy day.
It was just like the day in February 1982 when three bags were discovered on the shoulder of the northbound Sagtikos Parkway. Those bags contained the body parts of 19-year-old Tina Foglia.
The location is very close to where the westbound Southern State Parkway feeds into the northbound Sagtikos in Bay Shore.
“The DOT worker suspected it was a body because of the shape of the bags,” Senior Investigator Simon Ocampo told PIX11. “And when he got closer, he saw hair.”
Tina Foglia was a brunette who loved the Long Island rock music scene at Hammerheads, once located on Sunrise Highway in West Islip -- a club that launched bands like Twisted Sister.
She spent her last night alive there on Feb. 1, 1982.
“Tina was last seen at the exit of Hammerheads,” Ocampo said.
She left about 3 a.m.
Acquaintances said Foglia, a home health aide from Brentwood, was known to hitchhike, even though her sister Amy had begged her not to.
The State Police are now sharing additional information with PIX11, more than three decades after Foglia’s murder, in the hopes that her case will be an early candidate for DNA familial searching, a special test approved for use this fall in New York state.
“I think it’s a great candidate for it because we have the male DNA,” Ocampo told PIX11.
Familial searching involves looking at Y chromosomes that are common among brothers, fathers, uncles and sons. There has been no direct hit on a national database for the male DNA retrieved in Foglia’s case, so familial searching could lead investigators closer to the unknown killer.
“It has been 35 years,” Ocampo said. “The suspect may have had children or brothers who may have had sons.”
Suspects convicted of many crimes in New York state are required to give a DNA sample and have it entered in a national database, called CODIS. If a criminal in the system is related to the unknown Foglia killer, investigators hope they will get a "partial match" hit on the database.
“There’s definitely potential out there for relatives of the suspect to be in the system,” Ocampo said.
Michael Harris is the primary investigator on the case who’s working with Ocampo.
“Now that technology has changed, that’s why we’re looking into this case a little bit harder,” Harris said.
The state police also shared photos with PIX11 from their case file. One shows a footprint the killer left in the mud. Another picture shows a diamond ring.
The ring belongs to Tina’s sister, Amy Foglia Gagliardi, who moved to Virginia more than 30 years ago.
Amy and Tina had received identical diamond rings from their father. When Tina’s dismembered body was found, the ring was missing. Yet police don’t believe the motive was robbery.
Asked about the motive, Ocampo said investigators "think a sexual assault and a subsequent homicide to cover up the crime."
When PIX11 initially reported on the Foglia mystery in January, we noted the spot where Tina’s body was found is several miles north of the Robert Moses Causeway, which leads to Oak and Gilgo beaches, important locations in the Long Island serial killer investigation.
We asked Senior Investigator Ocampo if Foglia could have been an early victim of LISK, the Long Island Serial Killer, who dismembered some of his victims.
“There’s always the chance,” Ocampo said. “It’s not something we would rule out.”
But, Ocampo added, “that’s not an active avenue of the investigation.”
Ocampo told us police interviewed Foglia’s ex-boyfriend, who was living in the south, and other men she knew in the months and years after the murder.
He said they’d like to interview some of the men again.
They also interviewed some band members from various groups that played at Hammerheads, including the music acts that were playing on Feb. 1, 1982.
Ocampo shared that some of the men interviewed over the years voluntarily gave swabs that could be tested for DNA evidence.
At the time Tina Foglia was killed, she was approximately 185 pounds and 5 feet 2 inches tall with brown eyes and brown, shoulder-length hair. Aside from Hammerheads, Foglia frequented other clubs in Islip and Babylon.
Even though police believe the killer could have pulled over on the shoulder of the Sagtikos Parkway, which is very close to the westbound Southern State Parkway ramp, they said he also could have parked on a Bay Shore street that’s right behind the brush. The intersection is Privet Place and Gardiner Drive in Bay Shore.
“I believe it’s solvable,” Harris said. “We just need that one, little break.”
New York State Police are asking anyone with information to call them at 631-756-3300.