NEW YORK (AP) – The city medical examiner sought fingerprint and dental records Saturday to determine if a body recovered by authorities from a Pennsylvania landfill was a Bolivian immigrant allegedly killed by her boyfriend two weeks ago.

“The work on trying to identify her is still underway,” said Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the medical examiner. “We’re hoping to have an answer by the end of the week.”

According to Borakove, the city needed dental records and fingerprints to determine whether the body recovered on Thursday was Monica Lozada-Rivadineira, 26, who was last seen alive on Sept. 24. The necessary dental records could still be in the woman’s native Bolivia, she said.

The official cause of death was still pending as well, Borakove said.

Lozada-Rivadineira, a native of Bolivia, was allegedly killed by her boyfriend during a fight in their Queens apartment. Cesar Ascarrunz, 32, remains jailed without bail on a murder charge, and authorities have said he confessed to choking her to death.

The case attracted national attention after Ascarrunz allegedly abandoned the victim’s 4-year-old daughter on a Queens street in the middle of the night. Authorities were only able to identify the little girl after taking the unusual step of putting her on television in hopes that someone would recognize her.

The televised appearance also produced tips from the public that led police to Ascarrunz, who was questioned for two days before his arrest.

Officials said Ascarrunz packed Lozada-Rivadineira’s body into black plastic garbage bags and dumped it on a Queens street corner after the slaying. The body wasn’t recovered until Thursday, when police searching a Pennsylvania landfill found the corpse buried beneath 18 feet of trash.

The body was returned to New York on Friday, and the autopsy began Saturday morning.

As authorities tried to verify her identity, the slain woman’s mother, Roxana Rivadineira, was headed from Bolivia to New York City, where her granddaughter remained with a foster family in Queens.

Little Valery was found hours after the alleged slaying in the middle of a quiet Queens neighborhood, where neighbors found her shivering and crying.

A family court judge will ultimately decide where Valery will grow up. Several people in New York have offered to adopt her, while relatives of her father and mother are also involving in the custody issue.


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