A female backstretch worker was stabbed to death at a Belmont Park barn Sunday morning, and the suspect, who is in police custody, is a former boyfriend, according to Nassau County police.
"This is not a random act, this is a targeted incident, the person is known to her as a former boyfriend," Det-Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of the Nassau County Homicide Squad, said at a Sunday news conference at Belmont Par. "He’s now in custody.
Track sources believed the victim and the suspect had at one time been married.
Fitzpatrick would not identify either the victim or the suspect.
Daily Racing Form has confirmed the victim as Maria Larin, 51, who was licensed by the New York State Gaming Commission as a stable employee. She worked as a hotwalker for trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal, who is stabled in barn 61 which also houses horses trained by Brad Cox and Michelle Nevin.
According to Lolita Shivmangal, the daughter of and assistant to her father Doodnauth, Larin was walking Our American Star, a horse who would later in the day finish second, beaten a neck, in Sunday's first race at Belmont. Lolita Shivmangal is listed as the of Our American Star.
Michael Soto, who was walking a horse for Cox at the time, said he heard screams and then later saw Larin fall to the ground in the barn. The suspect attempted to flee, but was run down outside the barn by a few stable hands as well as a New York Racing Association security guard, who detained him until police arrived.
Sources said that the suspect came to the U.S. with Larin, but he later returned to El Salvador before coming back to the U.S. It is believed he was at one time licensed by the New York State Gaming Commission.
Lolita Shivmangal said Larin “was a very pleasant woman who had a good heart.”
More later on drf.com