A 40-year-old Flanders woman was found dead on the beach in Hubbard County Park in Hampton Bays on Friday.
Police said a fisherman was walking along the shoreline of Flanders Bay when he came across the body of Kristy Westerlind at approximately 3:55 p.m.
Initially, Southampton Town Police responded to the scene, but they called in the Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad to take the case over. Since taking it over, Suffolk County detectives have said they believe the death was non-criminal, though they are continuing their investigation.
Tim Forster, 61, of Flanders said detectives came to his home on Friday night to notify him that his off-and-on roommate of four years had died. Mr. Forster said he hadn’t seen Ms. Westerlind since mid-September, and police offered no information regarding a possible cause of death.
He said he was shocked when he heard the news, but took comfort in the idea that she wasn’t gone spiritually. “She didn’t believe that when you die, you’re done,” Mr. Forster said. “She believed there was a next phase.”
Mr. Forster said he met Ms. Westerlind six years ago at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, where both were being treated for mental disorders. He said they both were having a tough time adjusting to the hospital, but once they met, he said, everything balanced out.
“We both looked like 15 miles of bad road,” he said of the day he met her, adding, “I don’t think she could ever have a bad day in being presentable.”
Mr. Forster described her as angelic, kind-hearted and a loving mother of a 16-year-old daughter, but also said she had a tragic upbringing that affected her life, and he wanted to help.
Shortly after their stint at the hospital, Mr. Forster said, he invited Ms. Westerlind to move to Flanders. At first, she didn’t want to go, because there was nothing for her to do, but after checking it out, she fell in love.
Mr. Forster said there were times she would go down to the beach and sit for hours. “She loved the water,” he said. “She would go wading into the water and would string stones together like beads to make bracelets.”
For fun, Mr. Forster said, Ms. Westerlind would listen to all types of music and study the rocks that she would string together. She even knew the specific mineral type of many of the stones and what they meant for spiritual healing.
But Ms. Westerlind also had some demons, according to Mr. Forster, and continued to battle mental illness after her time at Eastern Long Island Hospital.
At times, this involved self-medication, Mr. Forster said, primarily consisting of Adderall, a highly addictive amphetamine and dextroamphetamine-based drug prescribed by doctors to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Regardless of the drug use, Mr. Forster said his door was always open to Ms. Westerlind. There were times she would leave for days at a time—sometimes to visit Hubbard County Park—and she would come back.
Ms. Westerlind’s body was taken to the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office; representatives of the department have declined to comment. Police have said that because the death was non-criminal, they do not intend to release a cause of death