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January 16th, 2007

The Number of Unsolved Murders in New York City

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There are now 9,082 unsolved murders in New York City going back to 1985. That figure is a moving target of course. They are adding to that number all the time. Roughly 150 – 200 or more murders go cold every year, and try as they might, they are not going back and solving that many each year (of the older, cold cases).

That picture was take at one of the Property Clerk warehouses. Those barrels contain homicide evidence.

Attention!  If you have a friend or loved one whose murder is still unsolved and you want to know what to do, please read this:

People ask repeatedly in the comments section about what to do or who to call about an unsolved murder. The answer to those questions are on the left under the heading, Getting Help – Contacting a Cold Case Squad. First read the document titled Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad. Then look up the number in the document Cold Case Squad and Other Organizations.

If you can’t find a number for your city or town, call your local police department and ask them if they have a cold case squad or a person in their homicide squad who specializes in cold cases. If they don’t then ask to speak to someone in their homicide squad. If you don’t get what you believe is a decent response, then go to the document on the left titled, Escalating Your Case.

If you have specific questions after reading through these instructions please ask here, but come back to see the answer!

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→ 611 CommentsTags: Homicide Facts ·

611 responses so far ↓

  • 1 mise // Feb 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    My aunt was murderd in Sunset park Brooklyn NY ..her name was Naomi Borreli how can I get more info on her case? My. Mom says she was raped as well.

  • 2 Stacy Horn // Feb 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I’m so sorry about your aunt. If you look over on the left, at the very top, it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. Click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS” and read through those instructions carefully. I wrote out what I feel is good advice about how to get help. When you’re ready, and have gathered all the information they’d need to help you, contact the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

    If you have specific questions as you go along, or hit snags along the way, please feel free to email me.

  • 3 Brendan Pearse // Feb 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    My closest friend Dennis Salomone was shot 4 times in the chest in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY on September 30 or October 1, 1991. I have been unable to find out if anything has happened with his case, it is still unsolved as far as I can see. I cannot find any information at all not even his name on a list. I would appreciate any assistance with this.

  • 4 Stacy Horn // Feb 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I’m so sorry about your friend. I’d like to ask, if you don’t mind, everyone always comes here and asks what they need to do even though I say what you need to do in the post you’ve come to—why doesn’t anyone read the post? The answers to your questions are there.

    Anyway, in your case, you could call the 115 precinct and ask, 718-533-2002, but since you’re not a family member, and the case goes so far back they may not tell you. You might do better to call his family and ask them. I’m going to email you as well.

  • 5 Liz // Feb 13, 2012 at 1:53 am

    I need help to find information about my uncle. He was murdered around 1978. I have little information as I was born after his death and the family has very little themselves. Mom says the 8th precinct has it while Grandma says the 5th. I need help. His name was Alverti Perez, might have been misspelled as Alberto or Albert.
    Thank you for any help. Please email me.

  • 6 Liz // Feb 13, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Sorry forgot to mention this was in Manhattan and the murder was by fire. Also another young lady (his girlfriend) died that day.

  • 7 Stacy Horn // Feb 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Well, to begin, when in 1978? Your grandmother must know the date of her son’s death (or your mother would know the date of her brother’s death). What was the name of the woman who died with him?

    From there I would suggest the same thing I suggest to everyone:

    If you look over on the left, at the very top, it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. Click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS” and read through those instructions carefully. I wrote out what I feel is good advice about how to get help. When you’re ready, and have gathered all the information they’d need to help you, contact the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

    If you have specific questions as you go along, or hit snags along the way, please feel free to email me.

    In your case, you might benefit by going to the library. I had a post about how to use the library for this kind of search here:

    http://www.therestlesssleep.com/?p=704

  • 8 Natalie Santiago // Mar 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Hello Ms, Horn my father Wilfredo Santiago was murdered on June 16, 1987 on Longwood avenue in the bronx. A few years back i called the 41st precint to seek information on my dad’s case and i was told that there were no suspects and the case was cold. my mom told me that there was one witness who saw the murder from her window but did not want to speak. i just want to know if there is any way i can gain more information and how your response is appreciated.

  • 9 Stacy Horn // Mar 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    If you look over on the left, at the very top, it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. Click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS” and read through those instructions carefully. I wrote out what I feel is good advice about how to get help. When you’re ready, and have gathered all the information they’d need to help you, contact the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

    If you have specific questions as you go along, or hit snags along the way, please feel free to email me. I’m very sorry about your father.

  • 10 Alfred Nunez // Mar 2, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    My sister was murdered in flushing meadow park ,my ,I was 14 years of age and she was 17 years of age , her name was Maria Colon ,this took place in 1979 ,no suspects , nothing, she was my only sibling , my everything. Our mother died after I was 6months of age my grandmother raised us

  • 11 Stacy Horn // Mar 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Such a sad story, I’m very sorry.

    If you look over on the left, at the very top, it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. Click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS” and read through those instructions carefully. I wrote out what I feel is good advice about how to get help. When you’re ready, and have gathered all the information they’d need to help you, contact the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

    If you have specific questions as you go along, or hit snags along the way, please feel free to email me. I’m very sorry about your sister (and your mother).

  • 12 Kirssy // Mar 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Hello my friend Kelvin Lantigua was murdered August 9 2010 and still the authorities have done nothing to catch his killer all I want is Justice for Kelvin and I would love if you can give me info on how I can go about this.

  • 13 Stacy Horn // Mar 31, 2012 at 8:50 am

    First, I’m very sorry about your friend. I googled his name and I see he was a young man and he was stabbed to death. It’s just terrible. I have instructions for how to proceed over on the left, at the very top, where it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. There’s document which explains what to do called: “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS.”

    But here’s the thing: Are you in touch with his family? Because perhaps the investigation is moving forward. Or, perhaps the detectives followed all the leads they had and got nowhere, and unless you have new information, there isn’t much the Cold Case Squad can do. If you do have new information, great, but if not, I would contact the family, if you haven’t already, and see how they feel about the status of the investigation. Presumably they know more and have their own opinion about what the detectives did or did not do. If they are also unhappy with how the investigation is going, you might point them to the document I suggested reading and they can contact the Cold Case Squad.

  • 14 Deputy Adam Frye // Apr 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    My father Wlater J. Frye was murdered in 1979 or 1982….Cant remember, but I was wondering if I could get details of the murder or a copy of the Police Report? Thank you very much!!

  • 15 Deputy Adam Frye // Apr 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Thats Walter

  • 16 Stacy Horn // Apr 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I’m sorry about your father. I don’t believe anyone will give you a copy of the report. If you just want details of what happened, call the precinct where the murder occurred (you are going to need to nail down the year first).

    If you’d like someone from the Cold Case Squad to get involved, if you look over on the left, at the very top, it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. Click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS” and read through those instructions carefully. I wrote out what I feel is good advice about how to get help. When you’re ready, and have gathered all the information they’d need to help you, contact the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

    If you have specific questions as you go along, or hit snags along the way, please feel free ask.

  • 17 Stacy Horn // Apr 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I’m very sorry about your father.

  • 18 Theresa // May 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Hi, my name is Theresa and I’m searching for information on the death of my aunt. Her name was Theresa Rodger and she was murdered in September 1971. She was only 17 years old and was strangled with her own bra on a project building rooftop. My father recently passed away and was 15 years old when she died. He never recovered and now I want to find out more information. Thank you for any help you can provide me.

  • 19 Theresa // May 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    This all occurred in Brooklyn, NY.

  • 20 Stacy Horn // May 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Hello. Well, to begin, as always, if you look over on the left, at the very top, it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. Click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS” and read through those instructions carefully. I wrote out what I feel is good advice about how to get help. When you’re ready, and have gathered all the information they’d need to help you, contact the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

    If you have specific questions as you go along, or hit snags along the way, please feel free ask.

  • 21 stacy hall // May 11, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    my mother was murdered by vincent gotti back in 1985 my uncle knows who did it he knows details but wont speak to anyone including myself if my uncle danny sees this i seen he posted on here please email me

  • 22 stacy hall // May 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    my mother was robin vitulli stacy horn and her death is still open its been 27years and still no conviction what can i do to get a conviction now im determined to have her killer put away i have alot of info just not a solid suspect but between three gotti’s

  • 23 Stacy Horn // May 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I’ll email you.

  • 24 Troy D // May 21, 2012 at 3:10 am

    @ post 174 & 175….Kiera McCormick, Strangely enough, as much as I was waiting for a response from you & Edna, I didn’t receive any e-mail’s back in NOV2011, connect with me on Facebook, I searched for you on F/B……got zilch…. f/b is the way to go in situations like this….Peace&love!

  • 25 Michelle S // Jul 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    My Cousin Ingrid Joyner nee Stephens was murdered in her apartment in the Bronx she was 23 at the time..she was also a jail Matron..her murderer was never found this happened in 1982 and made front page of the n.y. post

  • 26 Stacy Horn // Jul 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    That is so sad, only 23.

  • 27 Denise // Jul 23, 2012 at 1:54 am

    My dad was dismembered mid November 1991 in the South Side of Brooklyn. His murder remains unsolved. There were plenty of leads that was given to the 90th and 83rd precinct. It’s been 21 years and I would like to reopen his case.

  • 28 Stacy Horn // Jul 24, 2012 at 11:26 am

    How terrible. A couple of things: if his case was unsolved it’s still open. There is no statute of limitations on murder. It could be cold in that no active work is currently being conducted on the case, but technically, it’s not closed. Second, only one precinct has the case and that would be the one where the murder occurred.

    If you look over on the left, at the very top, it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. Click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS” and read through those instructions carefully. I wrote out what I feel is good advice about how to get help. When you’re ready, and have gathered all the information they’d need to help you, contact the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

    If you have specific questions as you go along, or hit snags along the way, please feel free ask.

  • 29 Philip // Jul 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    My father was murdered in the early summer of 1985 in Manhattan, New York. I have just begun researching my father’s case, and I also hired a cold case detective. Although the detective can not find my father’s file at all, and this puzzles me due to the fact that there may have been a police officer involved as a suspect in his murder. How can I try finding my father’s file if the detective can not find it, and how can I find further help with his case?

  • 30 Stacy Horn // Jul 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I’m going to email you, but my first response is, what do you mean you hired a cold case detective? Do you mean you are paying a retired detective? And if you are, stop. Well, I will email you.

  • 31 Gary // Aug 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    In 1988 or 1989 there was an unsolved murder of a transvestite from the movie “Paris is Burning”. She was strangled in a motel and stuffed under a bed. Apparently the housekeeper found her body after 4 days. The dt’s approached someone working at Sally’s Hideaway or Sally’s II in Harlem to id her because no one had claimed the body and they were about to cremate this poor soul. Her street name was “Venus Xtravaganza”. In the film she gives the impression that she is of Puerto Rican descent but rumors circulating on the internet say that she was Italian American and that her real name was “Thomas Pellagatti.” from Jersey City???? Has anyone heard of this case? Any idea if this was Venus’ real name? Was the murderer ever caught?

  • 32 Gary // Aug 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I think I have a little more information .. I was able to search under the assumption that the person’s real name was Thomas Pellagatti…if this is fact then he had siblings: Frank who died in 2005 , John Jr, Louis, Claire and Joseph. The mother’s name was Ollie and the Father was John Pellagatti who died at some point b/c the mother remarried to Harold Hoffman .. found his obit which led me to hers but still can not find any information from 1988 newspapers on a case about this strangled transvestite.

  • 33 Rico // Sep 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    May 17th 1972, my girl friend was murdered, she was shot and left in a back alley, somewhere in NYC. Her family has given up hope along time ago, and several of our old friends are still haunted by her sudden and violent death, her name was Iris Cohen

  • 34 Stacy Horn // Sep 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I’m so sorry. This is just the kind of case that goes cold, especially if it happened at night. If there were no witnesses (or witnesses who are willing to talk) and if the killer shot her without touching her, there may have been little physical evidence. If you’d like to pursue this though, f you look over on the left, at the very top, it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. Click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS” and read through those instructions carefully. I wrote out what I feel is good advice about how to get help. When you’re ready, and have gathered all the information they’d need to help you, contact the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

    If you have specific questions as you go along, or hit snags along the way, please feel free ask.

  • 35 Gary // Sep 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Stacy,
    I never thought to make the distinction that the movie I was referring to was a documentary and not a work of fiction. I know I am not a relative to Thomas Pellagatti but there are many people that find it odd that she was murdered in a NYC motel, left under a bed for four days before she was discovered, the police almost cremated the body because nobody claimed her as missing and not an ounce of this was in a New York City newspaper. Is it because of her line of “profession” or because she was truly a “he” and therefore considered insignificant. Sad. Here we are years later and not much has changed.

  • 36 Millie Ramirez // Oct 15, 2012 at 12:14 am

    This evening I was watching Cold Cases and I decided to browse the internet once again to do research on the unsolved murder of Mary Elizabeth McNamara. Lizzy and I lived in the same building (2811 Exterior) and she and I were bestfriends during our YOUNG CHILDHOOD AND PRE-TEEN YEARS (8-15). She was murdered on July 2, 1986 in the building we grew up in. I was surprised to see her unsolved murder mentioned here by [Name removed] (5/17/11) and PAD (1/11/11). Her and I also went to school with Tommy Hill, sad to about Tommy as well. Though I have seen and been in touch with her sister and brother a few (though frequent) times, I don’t dare ask them if they’ve contiued to try to follow up on Lizzy’s unsolved murder. And I don’t think it would be my place to ask permission to allow me to assist them with re-opening the case. Sadly, they also lost their mom, (also my friend) Mary McNamara to a terrible bus accident. I feel that they have suffered so much in these two loses (Murder and Tragic Accident) that I can’t find any way I would be able to ask them if there has been and thing done with Lizzy’s Case. In my heart I feel that Lizzy’s murderer maybe be in prison for some reason or another, yet I feel no closure and I’m sure her family has none either. Back in 1986 the DNA technology was nothing to what it is today in 2012. How I pray that one day we may have some answers as to who murdered and took away way to soon our BEAUTIFUL LIZZY WHO HAD THE BRIGHTESS BLUE EYES. R.I.P LIZZY
    I will be following instructions just to see what may come of it. THANK YOU FOR THIS WEBSITE.

    Thank you for this great web site
    MRG

  • 37 Denise // Oct 19, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Hi in 1989 i was told that my father was stabbed and left in a abandoned car to die in Brooklyn. My mother never spoke about what happened in 1990 my mom passed away. once she passed away a started hearing stories like he overdosed, he was stabed and in the cars but he had drugs on him so my mom didnt identify him. he frose to death in the abandoned car. all i know is that he wasnt identified and i dont know where hes burried or anything. he wasnt the best person in the world but he was my dad and i would like to know what happened and id him so he wont be another forgotten soul. any help will be greatly appreciated and even if you cant help me. thank you for all the help youve given these people on this page. God Bless

  • 38 Stacy Horn // Oct 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I’m very sorry about your father. What was his name? I’m a little confused by what you wrote. Did your father die in 1989? I’d suggest first going back to the people who told you the stories to get more specifics, like where in Brooklyn exactly, or as close as they can remember. There are 23 precincts in Brooklyn, I believe, so you need to narrow it down as much as possible. And again, you need to find out when. If the people who told you have trouble remembering, ask them to think about other things that happened that year, it might help them remember.

    If he was never identified he would have been buried on Hart Island, which is New York’s Potter’s Field. It’s actually a lovely place, and everyone buried there is treated with care and respect (I’ve been there). It’s maintained by the Dept. of Corrections. If you are able to narrow down when he died and where, you should be able to find out exactly where on Hart Island he was buried. I believe the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner takes a picture of every person before they are removed for burial there. The Municipal Archives has the earlier burial records, through the sixties and seventies, I believe, with some from the eighties. The Dept. of Corrections has the records for the eighties and after, if I’m remembering correctly. The people at the Hart Island Project are much more knowledgeable about this and should be able to assist you:

    http://hartisland.net/wwwebs/

    Good luck and if you have questions as you go along please don’t hesitate to ask.

  • 39 Stacy Horn // Oct 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I forgot to mention, the Medical Examiner will have determined the cause and manner of death, so if the place and date can be discovered, and your father found, there will be a record of how he died.

  • 40 Denise // Oct 22, 2012 at 9:11 am

    good morning Stacy, thank you so much for all this helpful information today i will make some calls and see what i can find out. i was told that he was found in November of 1989 not far from where we lived in East New York, i remember the zip code was 11208. again i thank you for your reply.

  • 41 Stacy Horn // Oct 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    That’s a good start. Other details that will help: age, race, height and weight (roughly). Oh, and what was his name? In case your family is mistaken and he was identified.

  • 42 Millie // Oct 24, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Hello Stacy, I want to say thank you so much for the information you provide on this great page. I made a call this past Monday (10/22) and was able to speak w/a Lietenant in a Cold Case Squad in regards to Mary Elizabeth McNamara, my friends unsolved murder. I feel good about the fact that I can still reach out (26 years later) and hope that we can still CLOSE THIS CASE. THANK YOU

  • 43 Stacy Horn // Oct 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Millie, how nice of you to come back and let me know that my instructions were helpful to you. You are so considerate. It’s terrible about your friend. DNA wasn’t used forensically in New York until 1992 (the first time it was used at all in this way was 1985, I believe) so the problem usually is, what evidence was collected at the time and is it still available? Cold cases are often solved not by DNA but by re-interviewing witnesses and friends, family, and other associates. Of course, who knows what will happen and in any case, I hope something happens and you are able to get answers. The need for justice is strong.

  • 44 Millie // Oct 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Stacy, Thank you so much for your response. It so happens that I just purchased “The Restless Sleep” this afternoon (before returing to this page), I feel it will guide me alot and help me open up to Lizzy’s sister & brother with the questions I have always feared to ask them. Again thank you for helping us all.

  • 45 Dennis Gannon // Oct 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    As a retired NYC detective in those mid 80’s and 90’s I would like to express my deepest condolence
    To every friend and family member of a victim to a homocide in the confines of NYC. I been at many crime scenes working mostly in Brooklyn I just like to let you know that every member of the nypd investigating a homocide really wanted to solve those horrible acts for the victim who could no longer speak for themselves . I am truly effected by what I witness sad but true sometimes this cases where never solved because there were witnesses who never came forward . To help out in in the investigation and that was very frustrating . It so hard as I read this blogs it brings back nightmares for me and I was not related to any of these victims. God bless

  • 46 Stacy Horn // Oct 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Thank you for posting that. I think often when a case isn’t solved, some people assume the detectives don’t care or didn’t try hard enough. That’s can’t be ruled out entirely, (anything is possible) but usually it’s as you said, no witnesses or cooperative witnesses, and/or little evidence.

  • 47 ben // Nov 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Is there a list of unsolved cases from NY in 1986?

  • 48 Stacy Horn // Nov 9, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I’m not sure what you mean. A list by name? No, there is not public list that I know of. You can get totals however, I have them here on this site. There’s a link over on the left.

  • 49 Marisol Burgos // Nov 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I am trying to get information on a 1980-1982 murder that happened in ENY (Brooklyn NY). Think it happened in a club called M&M I want to say it was located on Pennsylvania ave & Fulton St. The little girl name was Lunge (Elizabeth) she was my best friend and I my family did not let me go to her funeral. Dont know why but I would like to find out. She and I did alot of things together from playing Hookey, to going the beaches. We had childhood plans and that was taken away from me. Think her cousin or little brother was at there and also got killed. This has been bothering me for all my life, and I would like closure, they say some things are better undone, but I want to find out where they are buried so I can pay my respects.. I knew her whole family.. If anyone can help me with this please email me asap… Rest in Peace Lunge your best friend China…. I miss her sooo much

  • 50 Stacy Horn // Nov 15, 2012 at 8:20 am

    If you look over on the left, at the very top, it says: Getting Help-Contacting a Cold Case Squad. Click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS” and read through those instructions carefully. I wrote out what I feel is good advice about how to get help. When you’re ready, and have gathered all the information they’d need to help you, contact the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

    In your case you’re going to need to nail down the date a little better if you can. You could try contacting her family or doing some research at the library. I have some advice about that on this page:

    http://www.therestlesssleep.com/?p=704

    If you have specific questions as you go along, or hit snags along the way, please feel free ask.

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