Cops: Ex Rockville Centre restaurant owner murders girlfriend

Police catch Elmont after accident on the LIE, officials say


A former Rockville Centre restaurateur was arrested last week and charged with the July 30 shooting death of his girlfriend, authorities said.

Nassau County police captured the suspect, identified as Mark E. Small, 55, of Elmont, after a car struck him along the Long Island Expressway as he was chasing after a small dog, which he took from the victim’s apartment, according to published reports.

Small was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the death of Marivel Estevez, 39, who lived in the Allure apartments, at 140 Old Country Road in Mineola, police said.

Small was the owner and operator of Grotto, a Carribean-themed restaurant in the village that had closed in recent weeks, officials said. He had previously been in a relationship with the victim, who was the assistant manager of the luxury apartment complex, officials added.

Officers conducted a wellness check on Estevez at her apartment on Saturday, July 30, when they discovered her body with apparent gunshot wounds, authorities said. She was pronounced dead by a police medic.

After he allegedly fatally shot Estevez, Small fled in her vehicle and then collided with another vehicle on the LIE, police said. Published reports indicate that the dog then jumped out of the vehicle, and Small chased after it, when another vehicle hit him, authorities said. He was transported to a local hospital with multiple fractures. The dog has not yet been found.

Small was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, Aug. 3, when he was arrested and then arraigned at First District Court in Hempstead.

Details of what led to the alleged shooting have not been released and the investigation is ongoing, as of press time.

Following news of Estevez’s death, a GoFundMe page was launched to try and help family and friends with the unexpected cost of funeral expenses.

“Marivel was a loving daughter, sister, aunt and friend,” the GoFundMe page states. “Anyone who knew Marivel loved her. She was a breath of fresh air with a smile that would light up any room. The unexpected passing of Marivel has hit her family hard, not only emotionally but financially.”

As of press time, the page has helped raise $14,493 online, $507 short of the goal of $15,000.