For Woman Found by Police, ‘Unresponsive’ Is Least of It

The Police Department, busy elsewhere, can be forgiven for employing a measure of understatement in an ongoing investigation out of Queens.

Crime Scene Extra

Michael Wilson writes on crimes in the city.

The police described a grim discovery Tuesday evening, at 90-16 Corona Avenue in Elmhurst: an “unconscious female” in a vacant lot, according to the short summary of the incident sent to reporters.

Upon arrival, the police indeed found a woman, “unconscious and unresponsive,” the report said. Paramedics were called, and they pronounced the victim dead. The body was taken to the chief medical examiner to determine the cause of death.

This sort of a case is routine in the city, anytime a person dies alone.

But it is easy to imagine, knowing only this scant description of events, eyebrows rising among the living at the medical examiner’s office upon the arrival of the body. It was enclosed in a steel coffin, the kind that was popular in the 1850s, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the office.

The working theory is that the vacant lot where the coffin was found by laborers used to be a cemetery, and that the woman was placed in the coffin long, long ago, Ms. Borakove said. The case is under review.

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