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Sons of newly-ID’d Gilgo victim Karen Vergata not notified about death until after presser


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The sons of Karen Vergata, who was identified as a Gilgo Beach killings victim found dead on Fire Island more than two decades ago, were not notified about her gruesome death before the official press conference announcing the discovery Friday.

Eric Doherty, 32, was distraught when reached by phone Friday afternoon after authorities confirmed his mother, Vergata, was the previously-unidentified woman whose remains were found on separate occasions in 1996 and 2011.

“He just thought [Vergata] was missing,” his girlfriend Michelle Nolan, exclusively told The Post over the phone on Friday afternoon.

Eric and his older brother, Gary, are the biological sons of Vergata and a man named Gunther Lind, but were adopted as young children by Edward and Diane Doherty in 1992, Nolan explained.

The boys, who grew up with some knowledge of their biological mother, were not informed that her remains had been identified, Nolan said.

“We just…we didn’t have any information,” Nolan said. “Their [adoptive mother] just called to let them know.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney’s office did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for a comment on the situation, but he claimed at Friday’s press conference that the victim’s family was made aware of the discovery.

Eric briefly spoke to The Post to confirm that Vergata was his mother, but was otherwise too upset to provide further details.

“I think she was a drug user,” Nolan said of Vergata, who disappeared after Feb. 14, 1994, when she was 34 years old.

The young mother was struck by a truck when she was pregnant with Gary in the late 1980s, according to Nolan.

Gary, now 34, was born with cerebral palsy as a result of the accident.

The young mother was struck by a truck when she was pregnant with Gary in the late 1980s, according to Nolan.

Vergata may have sued the trucking company on her infant son’s behalf shortly after his birth, public records indicate.

Eric was born in 1990, and Vergata “took off after that,” Nolan recalled.

“She was a drug user and their father took her and helped her [for a time being],” Nolan said.

Gary, 34, now lives in a care home for adults with special needs, and is not yet aware of his mother’s death, she said.

Eric and Gary’s father is believed to have died of tuberculosis, though Michelle was not sure exactly when.

At the time of her disappearance, Vergata was living on West 45th Street and is believed to have been working as an escort, Tierney said Friday morning.

She was not reported missing, though records indicate that her father, Dominic Vergata, filed to have her declared dead in 2017.

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