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Aug. 16, 2021 -- The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office’s Cold Case Bureau, in partnership with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, seeks the public’s assistance in identifying a man who was found shot and dead in a wooden chest in Hastings-on-Hudson 43 years ago.

John Doe was discovered on April 23, 1978 at 10:15 a.m. by a motorist traveling north on the Saw Mill River Parkway in Hastings-on-Hudson. After the driver spotted a cedar chest on the side of the Saw Mill, he pulled over and discovered the chest was nailed shut. He used a tire iron to open it and found the body of the victim inside.

The Westchester County Department of Public Safety, which in 1978 was known as the Westchester County Parkway Police, worked diligently at the time to identify the victim, but his identity was never discovered.

The revival of this case was made possible by District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah’s establishment of the Cold Case Bureau in January. The Bureau is led by Assistant District Attorney Laura Murphy, who is assisted by Chief Investigator Daniel McKenna. They work collaboratively with other investigators in the District Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, and law enforcement from across the county.

“One of my top priorities when I became District Attorney was to establish the Office’s first Cold Case Bureau, and I was very pleased to appoint as the head of the Bureau ADA Laura Murphy, a very experienced and passionate homicide prosecutor, and Daniel McKenna, a former FBI Special Agent with decades of experience investigating homicides,” DA Rocah said. “This Bureau is dedicated to solving the over 140 cold cases in Westchester County.  We will not give up on these cases because the victims and their families deserve justice, regardless of how long it takes.”

The sketch of the victim was done by the Texas Department of Public Safety based on autopsy photos and the case was placed into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System in May.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office at (914) 995-TIPS.

rendering of male victimRendering of victim

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Jess Vecchiarelli, Director of Communications
(914) 995-3586
jvecchiarelli@westchesterda.net

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