Vigil marks 1 year since Brentwood slayings of 2 teen girls

Posted: Updated:
BRENTWOOD -

Friends and relatives of Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas paid tribute to the slain teens Thursday night, marking one year since authorities say they were killed by members of the MS-13 gang in Brentwood.

Officials say Cuevas and Mickens were childhood friends. The girls were beaten with baseball bats and hacked with machetes until they were unrecognizable. Cuevas was 16 years old and Mickens was 15.

United States Attorney Robert Capers said last year that Cuevas was "marked for death because she had feuded in school and over social media with various members of MS-13." He said Mickens was "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The brutal killings cast the national spotlight on Long Island's gang problem, prompting visits from President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The mothers of both girls, Elizabeth Alvarado and Evelyn Cuevas, over the past year have helped bring gang-prevention programs to schools.

"We want to see a desperate change in the school system on how they handle situations like this," said Cuevas' mother. "Have trained teachers, administrators, everybody trained to look for the signs when these kids are bullied, targeted."

"We're not going to let the gangs take over Brentwood," said Alvarado. "And if it takes me and Evelyn the rest of our lives for this not to happen to someone else's family, so be it."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday the deployment of 10 state troopers to 10 Suffolk schools for gang prevention.

  • SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Your Long Island Fall Fun Photos

    Your Long Island Fall Fun Photos

    Monday, October 7 2019 12:12 PM EDT2019-10-07 16:12:23 GMT
    Fall FunFall Fun
    Fall FunFall Fun
    Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? Whether you're out apple or pumpkin picking, at a farm or corn maze or just hanging around in your home or yard, News 12 Long Island wants to see your Fall Fun pics!
    Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? Whether you're out apple or pumpkin picking, at a farm or corn maze or just hanging around in your home or yard, News 12 Long Island wants to see your Fall Fun pics!
  • Your Kids Corner Photos

    Your Kids Corner Photos

    Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? News 12 has you covered.Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? News 12 has you covered.
    Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? News 12 has you covered.Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? News 12 has you covered.
    Did you do something fun with your kids this weekend? Share your adventure with us!
    Did you do something fun with your kids this weekend? Share your adventure with us!
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."