Cops: Sullivan, NY area searched in ’81 murder of Tammy Mahoney
Upstate police and FBI investigators have recovered a rusted steel drum and other forensic evidence from a dig site in the upstate Town of Sullivan during a search connected to the 1981 disappearance and killing of 19-year-old Farmingdale native Tammy Maloney, police there said Wednesday.
Several samples of undetermined substances recovered have been submitted to the FBI for analysis, the Oneida City Police Department said, adding that it and other involved agencies have concluded their search of the Chestnut Ridge Road property.
“The results of the search are inconclusive at this time,” the department said in a statement about the Tuesday findings.
It was not immediately clear what or if new developments or investigative leads led to the dig.
In May 2001 — almost 20 years to the day Mahoney was last seen alive — police contacted her mother, Jean Mahoney, then 66, to tell her that her daughter had, in fact, been murdered.
Tammy Mahoney, an aspiring veterinarian who was attending classes at Morrisville College while working with horses at nearby Vernon Downs, was last seen on May 8, 1981, hitchhiking along Route 46 en route to visit friends in upstate Hamilton.
Police said they believe she was raped by more than one person and beaten to death, her body dumped somewhere on the 32-acre territory of the Oneida Nation. Her body has never been found.
“As we continue to investigate the disappearance of Tammy Mahoney,” the Oneida City Police Department said in a Tuesday statement on their Facebook page, “we are continuing to work closely with the FBI, prosecutors, and other law enforcement agencies and officials, to . . . search for and collect evidence, and determine possible prosecution of those involved. We encourage anyone with any information regarding the disappearance of Tammy Mahoney, to please contact us at (315) 363-9111, and speak with Inv. W. Clark.”
Photos of the investigation scene on the Oneida Daily Dispatch newspaper website Wednesday showed investigators recovering a 55-gallon drum, as well as sifting through soil samples.
“We’re always hopeful that these things are going to turn out promising,” Oneida City Police Lt. Paul Thompson told local TV station CNY Central.
A $10,000 reward has been offered for any information leading to the location of Mahoney’s body, police said.
“I always had my ray of hope that someday I would get a call from her,” Jean Mahoney told Newsday in 2001 upon learning that police had declared her daughter dead. “You think of everything that will give you hope, and not that she was murdered. Maybe someone did kidnap her and will release her. Maybe she lost her memory. Maybe she joined a cult.
“Until you find out, your hopes are always there.”
Police at the time said they believed they knew who had committed the crime, but lacked the evidence to prosecute.
Relatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
With Jo Napolitano