The Lady In The Barrel

By RodneyHatfieldJr for Into The Mind

Reyna Angélica Marroquín born in 1941 was a Salvadoran woman who was killed in the United States in 1969. Marroquín’s body was not discovered until 1999, 30 years after she was murdered.

On September 2, 1999, an old 55-gallon drum in the crawl space of a house in Jericho, Nassau County, New York. The drum contained the mummified remains of a pregnant Hispanic female in her late 20s between 145 and 152 cm (4’9″-5’0″) tall, with unusual dental work. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. The drum also contained polystyrene pellets. Two rings, one inscribed “M.H.R.”. A locket inscribed “To Patrice Love Uncle Phil.” Green dye and an address book.


The drum had been manufactured in 1965 for transporting dye. Distinct markings showed it had been shipped to Melrose Plastics, a synthetic flower company partly owned by Howard B. Elkins, a local businessman who use to own the Jericho house. This was until 1972, when he sold the company and moved to Boca Raton, Florida with his wife.


Investigators using infrared light found that some of the deteriorated address book was legible. An alien card number written on the first page belonged to Reyna Angélica Marroquín, a 28-year-old immigrant from El Salvador, who had worked as a nanny, and for a manufacturer of synthetic flowers at a factory on East 34th Street, Manhattan. A phone number in the book belonged to Kathy Andrade, who had been a friend of Marroquín. When contacted, Andrade informed the local police that Marroquín had been having an extramarital affair with Elkins.  Marroquin had called Andrade to say she had become afraid of him after telling Elkins’ wife about the affair. Andrade went to Marroquín’s modest apartment but found it empty, and Marroquín was never heard from again. There were reports that a woman fitting Marroquín’s description once appeared with a toddler at Melrose Plastics, and employees had joked the child’s father was Elkins.


With this new evidence, detectives interviewed Elkins but found him uncooperative. They told him they intended to obtain an judicial order to take his DNA for comparison with that of the fetus found inside Marroquín. The next day, September 10, 1999, Elkins was found dead in the back seat of his car from a self-inflicted gunshot wound from a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun he purchased at a local Walmart store that day found in between his legs. The DNA testing found that Elkins was almost certainly the father of the fetus.

Investigators believe Elkins either went to Marroquín’s New Jersey apartment or lured her to the factory and executed her. He then took her body to the Nassau County house, possibly with the intention of dumping her in the ocean from his boat, but after filling the barrel with plastic pellets to ensure it would sink, he found it too heavy to move and left it in the crawl space.

Investigators went to San Martín, San Salvador, where Marroquín’s 95-year-old mother told them she had dreamt about Marroquín trapped inside a barrel. Marroquín was buried in El Salvador; her long-suffering mother died a month later and was buried with her.

Share this article on: