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'Scorpion tattoo' murder victim identified 31 years later; police search for woman's surviving daughter

Staten Island officials announced the 1991 "girl with the scorpion tattoo" murder victim has been identified 31 years later as Christine Belusko.

New York authorities announced Tuesday that the mysterious murder victim known for years as the "girl with the scorpion tattoo" has been identified more than 30 years after her discovery. And investigators continue to search for her killer and her adult daughter, who was just 2 years old at the time of the crime. 

On Sept. 30, 1991, the body of an unidentified woman was found brutally beaten, strangled and burned on the east shore of Staten Island. The victim was found face up, partially clothed, handcuffed and burned after investigators say she died from more than 17 blows to the head and was strangled. 

More than three decades passed before the woman was identified as Christine Belusko of Morris County, New Jersey. 

"This is a story about a brutal and depraved murder, depraved acts of violence that killed this young girl in her prime and the dumping of her body in a lonely and desolate field in the east shore of Staten Island exactly 31 and a half years ago," Richmond County District Attorney Michael McMahon said at a press conference Tuesday.


"She was found with a distinct scorpion tattoo, and this case was followed with great sorrow and public intrigue across the borough and beyond, and she became known as the ‘girl with the scorpion tattoo.’

"Despite the incredibly dedicated work of the NYPD at that time, authorities were unable to identify her or locate the person who took her life so savagely and so viciously at such a young age."

In a joint effort by the FBI, the district attorney's office investigators and NYPD detectives, Belusko was identified in April 2021 through the use of "forensic genealogy, technology unavailable in 1991 but invaluable in today's law enforcement world to bring closure and justice to those touched by crime," McMahon said. 

Belusko's last known address was in Clifton, New Jersey, where she lived until late July 1991. A longtime resident of New Jersey, she was staying near Mount Pocono in the weeks before death, police said.

Investigators could not disclose why she was believed to have been in State Island. She worked at a Rainbow Shops clothing store in New Jersey and was found murdered wearing a dress from the same brand. A hammer, with the inscription Lloyd L., is believed to have been the murder weapon and was found beneath her body. 


Police notified Belusko's surviving brother of her death in June 2021. In an interview then, he revealed Belusko had a daughter, Christa Nicole, who was just two years old at the time of the murder. That daughter, born Aug. 1, 1989, at Barnett Memorial Hospital in Patterson, New Jersey, would be 33 years old if still alive today. 

"We can never bring her back, but we want Christa Nicole and her family to know that she was never forgotten," McMahon said of the homicide victim and her daughter. 

The NYPD's chief of detectives is asking the public for help locating the daughter. 

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children created an age progression photo of what Christa Nicole might look like now. 

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