Skeleton Found In Staten Island Basement Belongs To Murder Victim

10/20/2011 10:35 am ET | Updated Dec 20, 2011

Police say a human skeleton found in a Staten Island basement likely belonged to a man who was murdered over a decade ago, The New York Daily News reports.

The human remains were spotted by Giuseppe Lafata on September 1, inside a crawl space of 70 Broad St., a building he owns in Stapleton. Lafata was pumping water out of the basement after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene when he made the grisly discovery.

Lafata's wife, Rosanne, told The Wall Street Journal her husband saw a jacket and some other clothes in the wet mud. When he picked up the jacket, a skull tumbled out. He called 911 and when he later returned to the couple’s Staten Island home, he was "still shaking" Rosanne said.

The medical examiner's office has ruled that the skeleton belonged to a male in his late teens who died after being stabbed in the torso.

Although police have yet to officially identify the body, they found the drivers license of 20-year-old John Taylor III on the skeleton, which was clothed. Taylor was reported missing from the same 70 Broad Street residence in 2000.

Police had visited the bloody scene of Taylor's disappearance in 2000, but the body went undiscovered as the building changed owners and tenants over the past decade.

Officials suspect drugs may have been involved in the slaying. 70 Broad Street was known for illegal drug activity in 2000. Taylor had a criminal history, including a 1999 arrest for trespassing. At the time of his death, there was a warrant out for his arrest.

Surprisingly, this isn't the first dead body to be discovered in a Stapleton basement. In 2009, a mummified corpse was discovered in an another building's basement after residents complained of a foul odor coming up through the radiator and in the drains.