2013-05-23 / Front Page

An Innocent Correspondence On Facebook Leads To Family’s Torment

By Sam Akhtar

With the everyda
Photos courtesy of Facebook Photos courtesy of Facebook y growing presence of social media in our lives, a stark reminder of its dangers has left a Brooklyn family reeling after the murder of their teenage girl.

Christian Ferdinand, 20, originally from Maine, was arrested last week and is being charged with the murder of 14-year-old Shaniesha Forbes, 14, of East Flatbush, whose body was burnt and dumped in Gerritsen Beach in January.

According to police, the Maine man met the teenage girl through Facebook and the two were apparently involved in a sexual relationship. He came to New York to visit Forbes and thought the Academy for Young Writers student was pregnant.

Ferdinand told investigators that he smothered the East Flatbush resident, after she supposedly refused to get an abortion, and put her body in a suitcase. He then allegedly transported the stuffed suitcase with Forbes’s dead body to Gerritsen Beach and attempted to set it on fire, but the flames defused. Just last month, the medical examiner’s report ruled the teenage girl was murdered by “homicidal asphyxiation,” which includes choking, suffocation and smothering. However, there were no findings to validate Ferdinand’s belief that Forbes was pregnant.

The young girl, whose family said she reportedly had a history of running away, was initially reported missing on January 4th, when she told her family she was
Shaniesha Forbes 
Photo courtesy of Facebook Shaniesha Forbes Photo courtesy of Facebook going to school. Her naked body was discovered in the early morning hours of January 6th, face up in the sand at the south end of Gerritsen Avenue, with burn marks on her hands, face and feet.

Almost immediately after she was found, Facebook pages dedicated to the investigation, titled ‘Justice For Shaniesha Forbes’ and ‘R.I.P. Shaniesha Forbes,’ began cropping up with pleads from the community for information and tips. Family and friends gathered for vigils to honor the slain teen and call attention to her then unsolved death. (“East Flatbush Teen’s Possible Murder Still Shocks Community,” January 17, 2013, Canarsie Courier.)

Forbes’s family admitted they were not aware of the relationship at the time and were devastated by Ferdinand’s alleged motives.

In a statement, Councilman Jumaane Williams said, “We continue to mourn for Shaniesha and pray for her family, but our hearts also have gratitude for the officers of the 63rd Precinct and their good police work in this case.”

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