With a fire-destroyed SUV removed from Nissequogue's , and crime scene tape stripped from the entrance, by Wednesday afternoon, locals got back to jogging and walking their dogs at the pristine park. But was still shocking to many.
MaryAnn and Robert Walker of St. James walk their dog at the beach around noon daily and said they were in disbelief of what they witnessed Tuesday before being turned away by police.
"St. James is so quiet, [the Town of] Smithtown is so quiet ... we come here all the time with the dog and we've never had a problem." MaryAnn said. "It's surprising when I read it this morning. I could understand a fire but a body in it is scary."
Robert echoed his wife.
"It doesn't happen too often in St. James, that's for sure, in [the Town of] Smithtown for that matter ... to see things like this happen, that's surprising," he said.
Not everyone visiting Short Beach on Wednesday afternoon was aware of what happened just one day earlier.
St. James resident Randy Weintraub arrived at the beach on a bicycle with two other cyclists unaware of Tuesday's fatal car fire. Weintraub said he was surprised the location was still not a crime scene and was at a loss for words when told of the news.
"It's shocking, wow ... I'm here all the time," he said.
Another St. James resident, a federal police officer who spoke under the condition of anonymity, was also unaware of Tuesday's incident.
"I've been living here for 21 years ... I've never heard anything like that over here," he said. "To find something like that here is kind of weird."