Body discovered in Park - Investigators say victim was hit over the head with object

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A normally bucolic day at Prospect Park took a grisly turn Wednesday when a murdered man was found sprawled out in a thatch of trees and shrubs.

Officials said that victim, believed to be of Middle-Eastern descent, may have been bludgeoned to death.

“He was hit in the head with something,” an NYPD source close to the case told this paper Wednesday afternoon. “We’re just trying to find out with what.”

Officials said that the victim was found inside a thatch of woods off a path in the southwestern tip of the park near the corner of 16th Street and Prospect Park Southwest.

Witnesses said that the body was found north of the lake, down from an area known as Look Out Point.

The body was discovered just after 8 a.m. on July 30.

Cops said that the victim – who was possibly homeless — was between 40 and 50 years old and could not be immediately identified.

As this paper went to press, cops were scouring over every piece of evidence recovered from the crime scene, which cops were seen carrying out of the wooded area in big paper bags Wednesday afternoon.

Cops quickly roped off that section of the park so detectives would not be disturbed.

Police said that this is the first murder to be discovered in the park in some time.

The last killing to take place in the 585-acre urban oasis was back in April 2006, when a man was found shot to death at the northern end of the park in a spot known as the Vale of Cashmere.

Most of the violence that comes from the park is usually centered in the Vale, which over the years has been labeled a homosexual “hook-up” spot.

An NYPD source said that this week’s slaying does not appear to have anything to do with the alleged activities at the Vale.

Wednesday’s killing is the first homicide to be investigated by Park Slope’s 78th Precinct, which is responsible for responding to any crimes in the park.

News of the killing has neighborhood park-goers on edge.

“Every once in a while there is a rape or a murder that happens here,” said Windsor Terrace dog walker Jane Laney, a longtime park user. “It’s safer not to go alone into those secluded areas.”

Cops are asking anyone with information regarding this killing to come forward.

Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

— with Stefano Giovannini

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