Friends and family have told of their shock and disbelief over the death of New York City escort Nicole Flanagan, the girl they knew for her ‘100-watt smile’ and how she ended up ‘thrown out like trash,’ stuffed in a barrel by the roadside.
The 42-year-old’s body was found naked in a 55-gallon plastic barrel in a New Jersey suburb on August 13.
Today she was memorialized at a small service in St Mary’s Catholic Church in the heart of her hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut – 40miles but a world away from the one in which her life ended.
One of Flanagan’s oldest high school friends who asked not to be named told DailyMail.com: ‘It’s just hard to believe, it’s so sad and so shocking. I keep remembering the girl I knew, with the 100-watt smile and I keep asking myself, “What happened”?’
‘I was so shocked to learn what she was doing for a living but I don’t judge her and no matter what a person does nobody deserves to end up like Nicole did.’
The body of New York City escort Nicole Flanagan, 42, was found naked in a 55-gallon plastic barrel in New Jersey on August 13
Friends and loved ones described Flanagan (pictured left in her Greenwich High School Yearbook photo) as a ‘good’ and ‘loving’ person who had a rough home life growing up and ended up making ‘a series of bad choices’
The friend continued: ‘I think the sad truth is you are who you hang out with. It’s the power of influence and she started hanging out with the wrong people after high school.
‘It wasn’t just one thing with her, it wasn’t just one mistake. It was a series of bad choices and mistakes and in the end the majority wins.
‘She was a good and loving person. It’s just so sad.’
With its luxury stores, tree-lined streets, and white picket fences the gulf between the Connecticut life for which Flanagan seemed destined, and the one in which she ended up, is jarring.
Aqueillo Parker, 29, believed to be a member of New York City’s notorious SNOW gang, turned himself in to NYPD on Sunday in connection to Flanagan’s death.
He has been charged on numerous counts including the disturbing, disposing and/or destroying of human remains and doing so with a co-defendant.
Parker’s arrest warrant obtained by DailyMail.com sheds more light on the events leading up to her death and her body’s disposal.
According to the documents, Flanagan met him at an upscale building in Manhattan’s Financial District around 1:45am on August 6.
Flanagan, a mother of three, was memorialized at a small service in St Mary’s Catholic Church on Friday in the heart of her hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. Her eldest son Aaron Underwood is seen leaving the church with his younger sibling and a woman holding a urn
Mourning friends and family embrace outside the church following the memorial service for Flanagan
Flanagan’s brother spoke during the service and described his sister as ‘a good person and a good mother,’ who was his ‘best friend’ growing up
‘An analysis of the victim’s cellular phone revealed that minutes prior to her arrival and meeting with Parker, a cellular telephone number utilized by Parker texted the victim, “95 wallstreet,” and “Lmn when you’re approaching so I can grab you from the lobby babe”,’ the warrant states.
Flanagan was last seen getting into an elevator with him and heading up to an apartment where she is believed to have stayed until August 12.
Police have not released any information as to what took place in the days and nights that Flanagan spent there, but ride-share records obtained for Parker show that he returned to the apartment at 95 Wall Street around 11:30 on August 11.
Aquellio Parker, 29, from Queens has been charged with helping dispose of a body
Surveillance camera footage captured the man carrying a ‘large drum’ which appears to match the one in which Flanagan’s remains were found.
Parker was caught on surveillance camera along with another individual arriving at the apartment in a large white commercial van around 9:30pm on August 12, when the two were seen grabbing a luggage cart from the building’s lobby and bringing it to the freight elevator.
According to the warrant: ‘Several minutes later, Parker and the other individual are seen exiting 95 Wall Street with a drum matching the description of the one recovered in Ridgefield Park.’
The van was recorded traveling across the George Washington Bridge a little after 10:30pm that night and was later recorded circling near Teaneck Road and Hobart Street before stopping ‘for several minutes’ around 10:45pm in the area where Flanagan’s body was found.
Speaking to the New York Post in the days after the discovery Bronx friend, Katrina Galloway, 47, claimed that Flanagan ‘always feared for her safety,’ and lived a risky life as a high-class escort who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.
An arrest warrant obtained by DailyMail.com sheds more light on the events leading up to Flanagan’s death and her body’s disposal
According to the probable cause affidavit, Parker was seen on surveillance footage with another individual exiting 95 Wall Street ‘with a drum matching the description of the one recovered in Ridgefield Park.’
The description of Flanagan in her later years makes little sense to those who knew her as a carefree girl growing up with her brother, Thomas, in Connecticut.
According to one who spoke to DailyMail.com: ‘She was pretty carefree. She wasn’t one of those kids who joined in much in school – she wasn’t into sport or debate or anything like that but she was happy.’
The friend recalled that home life was not always easy for Flanagan, saying: ‘Her parents were divorced and I know her mom had some issues but she sorted them out I think.
‘She was pretty much raised by a single father and lived with her brother and him and her grandfather. She kicked against it a bit and she bickered with her brother sometimes but what teenage girl doesn’t?’
For his part Thomas Flanagan, 46, who embraced mourners on the steps of St Mary’s Friday has described his sister as ‘a good person and a good mother,’ who was his ‘best friend’ growing up.
The only trouble the high school friend could recall Flanagan getting into in those teenage years was that she used to smoke pot at school and had a temper.
Parker, who turned himself in to NYPD, has been charged on numerous counts including the disturbing, disposing and/or destroying of human remains and doing so with a co-defendant
Police in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, were called to reports of a suspicious barrel left in the street (pictured) earlier this month
Flanagan’s body was found in New Jersey after allegedly being carted out of 95 Wall Street in the barrel
The friend said: ‘I would always be one to let things go but you didn’t want to be on the wrong side of Nicole. She’d stand up to things and it sometimes got her into trouble.
‘But she was a good kid.’
Flanagan’s closest high school friend admitted: ‘We never spoke about the future. I was thinking about that the other day, after I heard what had happened.
‘I never knew what Nicole wanted to do with her life. I don’t know that she did. She just kind of went day by day.’
Flanagan had her first child Aaron, now in his twenties, by Stamford, Connecticut local Raymond Underwood, 49, when she was just out of high school.
According to the friend: ‘Aaron’s father was a good guy, a good kid but they were just really young and it didn’t work out.’
Perhaps life could have been very different for Flanagan if it had.
The friend said: ‘Over the years our lives just started pulling apart. She started hanging out with people who I would say were a bad influence and I guess they won out in the end.’
According to Galloway, Flanagan worked as a receptionist, performed medical coding and did clerical work in an accounting office after graduating high school.
‘She liked to shop, she loved to go out, loved to look nice. She did it before this other life she lived. The life before was a great life,’ she said.
Mourners gather in Greenwich for the funeral of Nicole Flanagan. A guest is seen holding a memorial photo of the slain mom outside
Ashes were seen being taken into a car in Greenwich, Connecticut
Flanagan had two other children, a daughter, Tayana, in her teens, and a son, Xavier, now six.
But criminal records obtained by DailyMail.com reveal that all was not well with the young mother as far back as 2007 when she was charged with creating a public disturbance.
The misdemeanor was dismissed with nothing more than a small fine but the following year she faced more serious charges – in a family violence case in August 2008.
Then she was charged with Assault in the third degree and Threatening in the second degree. She was sentence to one year on each count with three years probation and her sentence suspended.
Two years later, in 2010, she was arrested once more and charged with breach of the peace and criminal mischief in the third degree and sentenced to six months in jail, a sentence that was once again suspended as she was given one year probation.
In 2011 she was charged with violating her probation and in 2012 her probation was revoked. It was around this time that she quit Connecticut for good and moved to the Bronx, the part of New York City in which she was living at the time of her death.
General view of Nicole Flanagan’s family home in Greenwich, Connecticut
Flanagan was a mother of three children. She is pictured at her youngest son’s first birthday several years ago
According to Galloway she started dancing in clubs in the Bronx and Queens and moved from that into working as an escort.
She became estranged from her family and the life she once led though she remained, friends said, a loving mother and locals who recall her from the block in which she lived in the Bronx told DailyMail.com that she was always ‘happy and friendly’ when she stopped into her local Dunkin Donuts each day.
Speaking shortly before her small funeral, the woman to whom Flanagan was closest during her high school years told DailyMail.com: ‘She reached out to me a couple of years ago on Facebook. I hadn’t heard from her in years.
‘She said something like, ‘It’s so good to have found you,’ and we were going to try and meet up but we never found the time. I guess I’ll always wonder about that and kind of regret it.
‘I didn’t really know what was going on in her life at the time but to be thrown away like trash… I would never have imagined this for her in a million years.’