Co-workers feared the worst when Garcia never showed Monday

05/11/2012 9:00 AM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Yohana Garcia worked cleaning, detailing and waxing boats at Larry's Lighthouse Marina for the past two years.

She had never come in late for a shift before, said Larry’s Lighthouse Marina owner Alex Galasso. So when Mirian Yohana Garcia Mansilla didn’t show up at the Aquebogue marina for work Monday morning, Mr. Galasso knew something was wrong.

COURTESY PHOTO | Yohana Garcia was due in work Monday, the day her body was found.

And he was worried.

“I called her sister Zully and said, ‘Have you heard from Yohana?’” Mr. Galasso said from the marina offices Thursday. “She was a good kid. I’m still reeling from this.”

Ms. Garcia’s body was discovered Monday morning near the parking lot behind the Riverhead Department of Motor Vehicles building, police said. Detectives said her death has been ruled a homicide, but have not yet released the cause of death.

Ms. Garcia of Aquebogue, better known by her middle name Yohana, was last seen walking into the Sabor Latino restaurant next to the DMV last Saturday night to watch a boxing match at the bar, relatives said. The case is still under investigation.

Meanwhile, employees at the marina are left to prepare for the busy boating season while coping with the sudden and unexpected loss.

Ms. Garcia had worked at the marina cleaning, detailing and waxing boats for the past two years, Mr. Galasso said, adding that he met Ms. Garcia about eight years ago through her mother, who had also worked for him.

Yohana Garcia had previously worked at a Tanger store, he said.

Ms. Garcia was a model employee at the marina, who always got along with her co-workers, Mr. Galasso said.

“She basically did whatever you asked her to do, and always with a smile,” he said in his office, where Yohana’s photo stared up at him from the newspaper in on his desk. “I’m going to miss her, no doubt about it.”

Marina office manager Anne Hale described Ms. Garcia as “such a hard worker.”

“She will be missed,” Ms. Hale said.

Ms. Garcia’s killing is not the first tragedy to strike Larry’s Lighthouse Marina in recent years. In 2008, marina mechanic Robert Gregory and his wife, Donna, were tragically killed in a plane crash in Easton, Mass.

The pair were traveling to Boston to get Robert treatment for his battle against cancer and left behind 4-year-old twins.

“Bob was a great guy,” Mr. Galasso said. “You start to think, you know? There’s a saying, ‘Only the good die young.’”

psquire@timesreview.com

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