Man Indicted in Post-Sandy Murder Mystery


While people were busy mucking out their homes, or cleaning up the remnants of them following Hurricane Sandy in Rockaway, a murderer took advantage of the distracted peninsula by using its beach as a place to dispose of a body. Who may have done it remained a mystery and the case went cold, that is, until just a week before the seventh anniversary of the storm.

In mid-November 2012, when many Rockaway residents were unable to access the news, media outlets reported that a body of a man was discovered tied up, placed in a garbage bag and partially buried among the dunes around Beach 13th Street in Far Rockaway. It was discovered on November 15, 2012 as Parks Department workers were cleaning the area from storm debris. The body showed signs of blunt trauma and bruises, but there was no identification. About a week later, the man was identified as Shawn Rucker, a 32-year-old man who had recently moved to New York City from Baltimore.

Nearly seven years later, the alleged murderer is now facing charges for the crime. “The victim in this case was brutally killed—his face and body battered with a blunt object—and then he was disposed of on the devastated shoreline after Super Storm Sandy. The defendant, who got away with this heinous killing for years, is now in custody and faces spending the rest of his life locked behind bars,” Acting Queens District Attorney John M. Ryan said in a press release.

The District Attorney’s Office identified the defendant as Thyron Aycock. The 43-year-old defendant was arraigned late Tuesday, October 22, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Peter F. Vallone Jr., on an indictment charging him with second-degree murder. Justice Vallone remanded the defendant and set his next court date for November 6, 2019. Aycock faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

According to a New York Daily News report, Aycock told investigators that he met Rucker when he moved in with a woman he was dating named Tiana in Far Rockaway. Aycock allegedly wasn’t fond of Rucker because of how he treated the woman by starting arguments.

According to the charges, between October 29, 2012 and November 7, 2012, Aycock allegedly struck Rucker repeatedly with an unknown object causing his death, before disposing of his body on the beach in a Sandy-ravaged Rockaway.

 It should be noted that an indictment is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Aycock has been serving time on Rikers Island since June for a misdemeanor assault and was supposed to be released on October 26, according to NYC Department of Correction records, and he had served prior prison time for more serious assault crimes.