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  • Writer's pictureKym Pasqualini

Finding Christa Belusko: Search for a Missing Daughter


Christine Belusko, (left), her daughter Christa Nicole Belusko (center), and an age progression of what Christa may look like today.

Over 30 years ago, an unidentified woman’s body was found at 777 Seaview Avenue on Staten Island in New York. She became known as the “girl with the scorpion tattoo.” Recently, the unknown woman was identified as Christine Belusko from Morris County, New Jersey.


The mystery doesn’t stop there.


Authorities have begun a search for Christine’s missing daughter Christa Nicole, who was only two years old when her mother was brutally murdered on September 20, 1991.


The Murder


Christine’s body was found lying in the woods in Richmond County by two employees of a nearby psychiatric hospital who had been walking by. According to news reports, they thought her body was a mannequin at first.


Police examine the crime scene where Christine Belusko’s body was found in Ocean Breeze in 1991. Photo courtesy of Missing Leads.

Lying face up, Christine was wearing a black dress with pink trim and was handcuffed.


A hammer used by auto body workers was found underneath Christine’s body. It had “Loyd L” scratched into the handle.


Christine had been hit 17 times in the head, most likely by the hammer found under her body, and strangled. Her body was also burned.


Items found on Christine Belusko’s body include jewelry and her pink and black dress. Photo courtesy of Staten Island Live.

She wore a watch ring on her right finger, two gold chains, and a crude tattoo of a scorpion on her right buttock. She also had a pack of Newport cigarettes.


Identification


The medical examiner kept a vial of Christine’s blood and a tissue sample and worked with the district attorney of Richmond County, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and New York investigators to identify Christine’s remains.


During the effort to identify the “girl with the scorpion tattoo,” they found out Christine had a two-year-old daughter that was missing and that she had been working for Rainbow Shops, a retail chain, getting the stores ready before opening.


Christine's Life


Christine was identified using forensic genealogy in April 2021, which has been increasingly utilized to identify victims previously unknown for decades.


There is little known about the murdered woman. Authorities discovered Christine was adopted as a baby and raised by a couple in New Jersey. Her last known address was in Clifton, New Jersey. When Christine found out she had been adopted, she told her family she was moving to Florida.


She left home in July 1991 and stayed at the Mount Airy Lodge for a short time. Christine’s adoptive family had no idea she had been murdered and thought she was residing in Florida.


Christine Belusko’s murder has spurred a desperate search for her daughter. Photo courtesy of Missing Leads.

Authorities were able to locate a biological brother who provided a DNA swab for confirmation. He divulged that Christine had a daughter and that’s how law enforcement became aware that Christa was missing.


Eventually, police were able to determine that Christine was the daughter of a woman from New Jersey who had eight other children and had given Christine up for adoption when she was just a baby.


Authorities proceeded to find the identities of Christine’s adoptive parents. They were Frank Belusko, who worked as a glass molder, and his wife Dorothy, a secretary at a car dealership. The couple also adopted a son.


The Search


Authorities continue to investigate the mysterious case with full vigor.


District Attorney Michael E. McMahon and officials at the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office on March 21, 2023. Photo courtesy of SDAO.

“We can never bring her [Christine Belusko] back, but we want Christa Nicole to know, and her family, that she was never forgotten,” said District Attorney Michael E. Mahon at a March 2023 press conference.


“We continue to make efforts to locate Christa Nicole, so we can let her know who her mother was and what has been done in this case,” McMahon told Staten Island Live.


The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has also joined the effort. Being the largest and most influential child protection agency in the country, the organization employs retired local, state, and federal law enforcement. NCMEC also disseminates posters and information worldwide.


Christa’s profile reflects an age progression that looks a lot like her mother. Authorities indicate that Christa was born on August 1, 1989, at Barnert Memorial Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey. She would be 33 now.


The Staten Island District Attorney’s Office Facebook page stated:

“While Christine’s killer remains unidentified & the whereabouts of Christa Nicole is unknown, we are turning to the public to ask their assistance in bringing this case to a close & securing long-delayed justice in the case of the girl with the scorpion tattoo.”

If you have any information about this case, please call 718–556–7085 or email info@rcda.nyc.gov.

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