cold case

NYC Man Charged With 45-Year-Old Killing of WWI Vet Whose Remains Were Found in 2019

Queens DA

A 74-year-old New York City man was arrested and charged with murder on Wednesday following the 2019 discovery of buried remains in the yard of a Queens home that's believed to have been there for several decades.

The murder mystery in Richmond Hill began after a woman called police to say she knew about a murder that happened in the late 70s and told them where the body has been hidden. Sure enough, police found the skeletal remains exactly where the woman had said they were -- behind a home on 115th Street, between 89th Avenue and Jamaica Avenue.

At the time, law enforcement sources said a torso, hip bones and possible lung and heart tissue were recovered. The deceased has now been identified as George Seitz, an 81-year-old World War I veteran, according to the Queens District Attorney.

Authorities say Seitz went missing on Dec. 10, 1976, after leaving his home to get a haircut. Martin Motta, whose listed address is less than a mile away from Seitz, was allegedly involved in the death of the veteran whose body was dismembered at the neck, shoulders and hips, prosecutors said.

While Seitz's body was discovered more than two years ago, investigators weren't able to identify him until February 2021 when advanced DNA testing was used to determine a genealogical profile that led to potential family members of the victim. The very same method has been used to solve multiple cold cases in recent years, including the infamous Golden Staten Killer.

Prosecutors have not released the motive in the killing.

Motta is expected to appear in court on Friday. If convicted, Motta faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

Copyright NBC New York
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