Arrest Made in Case of Riverhead Teen Found Dead Behind Home

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A teenager was arrested Friday, June 10 for allegedly killing a Riverhead boy more than two years after the victim’s skeletal remains were found in Centereach, Suffolk County police said.

John Mann Jr., 19, of Centereach, was charged with second-degree murder for the death of Henry Hernandez, then 16, of Riverhead, police said. He pleaded not guilty June 16 in Suffolk County court.

“This was a horrific and brutal crime committed for no rational reason but what is just as disturbing is
that the defendant was 16 years-old when he allegedly committed this callous act,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney.

Homicide Squad detectives said a 911 caller reported finding the victim’s remains in a plastic tub behind the suspect’s neighbor’s home on Jay Road in Centereach on March 15, 2020. The boy was “a victim of violence” whose hands, feet and mouth were bound with duct tape and is believed to be dead for approximately one year prior to the discovery, according to investigators. He was identified via DNA evidence.

Prosecutors said the victim and the suspect were hospitalized together in Brunswick Hospital Center in Amityville a year before the murder. When Hernandez was released, he went to Mann’s home and stole the suspect’s father’s truck, authorities said.

Mann later lured Hernandez to a location nicknamed the “Sand Pit,” where he tied the victim up, beat him with a blunt object and buried him in a hole covered with debris, prosecutors said. The body was later moved to his neighbor’s house, where it was discovered.

Mann is due back in court on July 13. He faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted. His attorney could not be reached.

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