NEW YORK – The man who was struck by a car, trapped under a van and dragged for nearly 20 miles through New York City streets was identified Thursday as an Ecuadorean immigrant who had turned 26 the day before he was killed.
Guido Salvador Carabajo-Jara was crossing a busy street near his home in Queens when he was hit by an SUV, then impaled by a steel plate on the undercarriage of a van. The body wasn't discovered until the second driver arrived in Brooklyn about an hour later.
Police identified the victim after investigators spent nearly a day trying to identify the body, which was found largely intact but horribly battered. The man's heels were shorn off, and his clothes and several layers of skin on his legs and buttocks were worn off.
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No identification was found, only a business card, Western Union receipt and broken iPhone. The body was identified by a cousin, said Paul Browne, NYPD deputy commissioner for public information. An autopsy was being performed Thursday to try and determine when the man died.
Police said the gruesome episode was accidental and they have no plans to charge the drivers at this time. Both men have clean driving records.
Details emerged Thursday about the victim, who was apparently unmarried and shared an apartment with his cousin and sister, who was making funeral arrangements. Their mother lives in Ecuador, police said.
A relative, Ignacio Quintero, said Carabajo-Jara had a 4-year-old daughter in Ecuador and faithfully sent money back to his family there to care for the girl. He described Carabajo-Jara as a harde agent who was walking arm in arm with his brother was beaten to death in an apparent hate crime by assailants who shouted anti-Hispanic and anti-gay slurs.
The killing of Jose Oswaldo Sucuzhanay followed the death of Marcelo Lucero, 37, an Ecuadorean immigrant who was fatally stabbed Nov. 8 by a group of teenagers on Long Island, New York.
Prosecutors said seven teenagers charged in Lucero's assault had set out to attack a Hispanic person. All seven have pleaded not guilty to hate crime and other charges in the killing.
Lucero's death has attracted international attention and prompted a U.S. Justice Department investigation of area hate crimes.