State Police are hoping a T-shirt might drum up a lead on a 16-year-old cold case homicide.
Police on Tuesday released for the first time a photograph of a shirt worn by a man whose decomposed body was found March 9, 2000, stuffed into a black plastic bag in a wooded area off Northern State Parkway, east of Wolf Hill Road, in Dix Hills.
The shirt has a New Jersey theme, with drawings of a football player and sailboats and the words “Giants Stadium” and “Jersey Shore.”
“We’re thinking maybe the shirt was the coolest thing on the Jersey Shore 16 years ago, that it’s unique or weird enough so that someone will recognize it,” State Police investigator Steven Kueck said Tuesday.
Kueck, who is assigned to the Brentwood Barracks, said he’s about the 10th investigator to work on the case, and there are no new leads.
“It’s pretty cold,” he said. “There’s just so little to go on, and when you don’t know the victim’s name, you’re limited.”
Over the years, police have released a computerized facial reconstruction of the victim along with the limited details they have on the case. Time after time, they’ve come up empty.
The other new tidbit released Tuesday is based on soil sample analysis and the autopsy, which indicates the man was killed sometime between January and March 2000.
Investigators have determined that the man was shot with a large-caliber pistol.
He was white, between 35 and 45 years old, and 140 to 150 pounds. He had short, dark hair and was wearing a khaki-colored short-sleeved shirt with black trim, the New Jersey themed T-shirt, jeans and a bathing suit.
Kueck said they have some DNA evidence, a fingerprint and dental records of the victim. And little else.
Kueck said the man probably was killed elsewhere and then his body dumped. “There were no shell casings at the scene, and I’m sure no one wrapped him in a plastic bag there,” Kueck said.
Police think perhaps the victim could have been involved in drugs, or maybe he was an undocumented immigrant.
Kueck admitted the theories were speculative but plausible, because such people aren’t readily missed and often are detached from family.
“It’s hard to say yes to anything, but then you’re also trying to think of people who wouldn’t necessarily be missed,” he said.
Still it comes down to after 16 years, no missing-persons reports match the victim’s description.
After 16 years, Kueck said, “we still don’t have anything.”
Anyone with more information can call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477 or the New York State Police at 631-756-3300. Please refer to SJS# 3023503.
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