NYPD: Missing man stabbed 15 times; 2 charged with murder

NEW YORK CITY -- A three-state investigation into the murder of a Connecticut man whose body was believed to be found in a shallow grave is focusing on what happened in the New York City apartment building where he was last seen over the weekend.

Investigators revealed Thursday that some sort of argument led up to the fatal stabbing of 26-year-old Joseph "Joey" Comunale, of Stamford. Police have arrested 25-year-old James Rackover and 28-year-old Lawrence Dilione, who are charged with second-degree murder, concealment of a human corpse and tampering with physical evidence. Dilione is also charged with hindering prosecution.

Authorities say Comunale traveled to Manhattan Saturday, Nov. 12, and attended a party at The Grand Sutton at 418 E. 59th St., located between First Avenue and Sutton Place near the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

Photos: NYPD investigates UES apartment in search for missing man

The party was held in a fourth-floor apartment, and Comunale was there with two other men and three women, who he had just met at a nightclub that night.

The argument happened at some point, and police said Comunale was stabbed 15 times in the chest.

According to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, the body was taken at some point to Oceanport, New Jersey, where it was buried in a shallow grave about 1-foot deep. There appeared to be some effort to burn the body, as there was gasoline found at that scene.

That scene wouldn't be discovered until Wednesday, when one of the people being questioned apparently pointed detectives to that location - more than 60 miles from the Manhattan apartment was last scene.

All the while, a Comunale's father reported his son missing Monday because he had not heard from him. Police went to the place where Comunale was last seen - that apartment on the Upper East Side. That's where police found evidence of foul play.

"We have blood on clothing and there appears to be bleach on that clothing as well, to cover up the blood," Chief Boyce said.

Investigators told Eyewitness News that Comunale's bloody clothes, as well as bloody sheets and towels, were found during the search of the apartment and garbage.
Police said one of the two men charged, Rackover, lived in the apartment where it's believed Comunale was killed. One of them is the son of a well-known jeweler.

The motive of the killing is under investigation.

The medical examiner in Monmouth County, New Jersey, is still working to positively identify the body found in the wooded area.
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