Westchester County

Authorities Ask for Help IDing John Doe Found in Chest on Side of a NY Parkway in 1978

Westchester County District Attorney's Office

Westchester County authorities have revived a cold case and are asking the public's help in identifying a man who was found shot to death in a wooden chest off the side of a busy parkway 43 years ago.

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

The Westchester County Department of Public Safety, which in 1978 was known as the Westchester County Parkway Police, worked 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, in partnership with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety.

“One of my top priorities when I became District Attorney was to establish the Office’s first Cold Case Bureau,” 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.

Contact Us