BRONX, NY–A young couple was found ritualistically murdered in Crotona Park early Monday in what police are calling a "copycat crime that lacks the artistry and nuance of the original."

Forensics workers remove the bodies of a married couple murdered in a copycat crime officials derided as "perfunctory and derivative."

"On the surface, this double homicide seems identical to that of Yvette and Hector Reynoso in Crotona Park July 3," said Sgt. Bob Bloch of the New York Police Department. "The bodies were arranged in a back-to-back seated position, tied tightly together. Each victim's clothing was removed and put backwards on the other person. And their throats and wrists were ritualistically slashed, and the eyeballs carved out and placed in their mouths. But look closer, and you'll see that this crime is a pale, uninspired imitation of its predecessor."

The latest victims, identified as Susan and Nicholas Thomasen of White Plains, were found by police at 6 a.m. The crime was initially suspected to be the work of the Happy Loving Couple Killer, who shocked New York with his grisly, methodical slaying of the Reynosos four weeks ago and may be behind as many as 11 ritual double murders since 1988.

"Based on our initial forensic observations, we believed the crimes to be the work of the same man," Bloch said. "But a closer look revealed an obvious departure from the Happy Loving Couple Killer's attention to detail. I mean, why weren't the Thomasens' hands meticulously entwined? Why weren't the usual Valentine hearts drawn on their chests with the other's blood? Why were there no African violets stuffed into their mouths? Just sloppy. And tying their necks together with a white silk scarf is just an unnecessary flourish, introducing a violent, erotic-fantasy-fulfillment theme that undermines the simplicity and emotional directness that is the real Happy Loving Couple Killer's signature style. The second I stepped on the scene, I knew something was horribly wrong."

Fingerprints and DNA samples taken from the Thomasens' bodies failed to match those from the Reynoso murders, confirming those suspicions.

"It's a disappointing sidebar to the Happy Loving Couple Killer canon," Bloch continued. "However, it in no way detracts from the importance and power of the original killings."

Adding to the lack of artistic merit already clouding the Thomasens' death is the fact that, in order to stay true to the spirit of the original, the couple should not have been chosen as victims in the first place.

"The Happy Loving Couple Killer, or 'Hap,' as his longtime NYPD followers call him, always murders newlyweds who have known each other less than one year," Bloch said. "The Thomasens had met 13 months ago. Did this wannabe think we wouldn't notice? It's those little details that mark the difference between a good killer and a derivative hack. This murder is almost beneath the NYPD's attention."