Cobleskill, N.Y.(News10)-The retired Schoharie County Sheriff is marking another sad anniversary in a 48-year-old cold case. The case surrounds the murder of a SUNY Cobleskill student who went missing on this day back in 1974.
Tony Desmond took News10’s Anya Tucker back to the lonely road outside of Cobleskill that still haunts him to this day. He’s a retired Schoharie County Sheriff, but 48 years ago he was a state trooper and one of the officers who found the body of Kathy Kolodziej. In 1974, the 17-year-old from Suffolk County was attending SUNY Cobleskill. On Halloween night of that year, she was hanging out with friends at a Cobleskill bar called the Vault. “The friends were going to leave, female friends. Kathy said, ‘No. You go on back. I have “a walk back.”’ They took that to mean that somebody was going to walk her back to the college. He told Anya that the friends did not know the person she may have been referring to.
The next day on November 1st her roommate reported her missing. Weeks later, the day before Thanksgiving, a shoe belonging to Kathy was found on a desolate road in nearby Richmondville 5 miles from the bar where she was last seen. On Thanksgiving Day, not far from that location, on McDonald Road her remains were discovered face up on a stone wall in the rural countryside.
She had been stabbed twice. Desmond says he and the other investigators working on the case believed she had been killed elsewhere and her body transported to that spot.
Anya asked Desmond if he feels the killer was local to the area, someone who would have had firsthand knowledge of the rural backroads. “Yes, I think it was a local person and that’s what all the investigators thought,” he answered. He says they had many potential suspects at the time, but nothing ever panned out and there were no witnesses who saw Kathy leave with anyone. Although Desmond added that back in 1974 a woman living across the street from the bar told investigators that around 1am, on the morning Kathy disappeared, she was looking out her window and saw a person get into a yellow Volkswagen Beetle on the street. He says they hunted down any persons of interest who drove that type of vehicle but came up empty handed.
Anya spoke with Kathy’s cousin Vicki Szydlowski by phone saying she hopes Kathy’s clothing and DNA from the scene along with new technology might help identify her killer. “Crimes over 30 years old are being solved using DNA and genetics. That’s my hope,” she added. In 2013, former News10 reporter Christine O’Donnell spoke with members of Kathy’s family about their loss and hope for justice.
Desmond says that he thinks about the case every day. “That’s my dream to solve it. Even if I don’t solve it, somebody will solve it. Just find out what happened and why it happened.”
New York State Police have had the case for many years now and they tell News10 that it remains an open case. Desmond believes that someone out there knows something. But as time goes on, and those with information age and pass away, the opportunity to catch a killer are dwindling.
If you know anything about what happened to Kathy Kolodziej you’re asked to contact New York State Police. Call: 518-583-7000 Email: email@example.com