WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - An autopsy revealed that a man found dead in a suitcase in a suburban park was a drug "mule" who had 50 packets of heroin in his body and probably died when one or two of them broke open.
Investigators expressed surprise that the man's body had not been cut open for the drugs. The heroin would have been worth an estimated $100,000 on the streets, Westchester County police spokesman Kieran O'Leary said Tuesday.
The man, estimated to be 50 to 60 years old, has not been identified. Investigators aren't sure who put him in the suitcase found last Thursday in Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers, just north of New York City.
But it probably wasn't the drug dealers who were expecting the man's shipment, because they likely would have cut his body open for the drugs, O'Leary said.
"We've seen that on occasions in the past," O'Leary said. "How he got to the park with the drugs still inside him is still a piece of the puzzle."
Detective Lt. Christopher Calabrese theorized that other mules, not wanting the dealers to cut open the corpse, bought the suitcase and dumped the body before the dealers came to collect the drugs.
"I'm very surprised this guy's not been cut open," he said.
Detectives believe the man traveled from the Dominican Republic.
While the man's cause of death had not been confirmed, one or two of the packets inside him were broken, O'Leary said. There was no outward sign of violence or trauma.
The man probably died a day or two before he was found, the spokesman said.
The body was discovered when a parks worker went to remove the abandoned black canvas suitcase near the park's entrance and the victim's leg popped out.