Upstate Cops Revisit LI Teen Katherine Kolodziej’s 1974 Murder-

From Newsday

crimestoppersFox23news

By JOSEPH MALLIA         joseph.mallia@newsday.com

Nearly four decades after a Ronkonkoma teenager was found stabbed to death near her upstate university campus, police are once again seeking the public’s help in solving the case.

Police have put Katherine Kolodziej’s picture on a billboard facing a busy two-lane highway, not far from where her half-clothed body was found in 1974.

“If the person who did this is still alive, I want him to know we haven’t forgotten what he did,” Schoharie County Sheriff Anthony Desmond said last week.

“It’s been 38 years, but we’re putting it out there again, continually hoping a lucky break will come our way,” he said.

A Connetquot High School graduate, Kolodziej disappeared on Nov. 2, 1974, after dancing with friends at The Vault, a Cobleskill Village bar. Her body was found weeks later, on Thanksgiving. She had been stabbed seven times, laid on a stone wall in a wooded area and covered with a red coat.

Over the years, police have questioned potential local suspects and investigated possible links to serial killers, including Ted Bundy, but got nowhere.

Now state troopers say they are taking a different approach: They aim to identify and interview every person who was in the bar that Friday night and early Saturday morning.

Kolodziej’s parents died several years ago, but her uncle, Charles Szydlowski of West Islip, said last year that he hasn’t lost hope that the killer can be caught — and the story behind the slaying revealed at last.

“If they can be sure, I certainly would like to know,” said Szydlowski, whose sister Hedwig Kolodziej spent the rest of her life mourning her daughter. “And in my prayers, I will tell my sister what happened.”

Szydlowski couldn’t be reached for comment on the latest developments.

The billboard near Cobleskill is an appeal for help: “1974 Unsolved Homicide. Katherine Kolodziej. 17 yr. Old SUNY Cobleskill student. Last seen leaving bar alone. Body found in field . . . Cash Reward up to $2,500. Anyone with information Please Call.”

Though investigators through the years have interviewed hundreds of people — including the entire student body at SUNY Cobleskill — they still hope to find new leads, Desmond said.

“There’s always somebody we might have missed, or someone who was reluctant to talk,” he said.

The billboard space was donated by a businessman whose father was the Schoharie district attorney in 1974. The sign is on Route 7 west of Exit 22 of Interstate 88, about six miles from campus. The reward is offered by CrimeStoppers.

State Police are leading the investigation, with the aid of the FBI, the Cobleskill and SUNY police, and the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices.

5 thoughts on “Upstate Cops Revisit LI Teen Katherine Kolodziej’s 1974 Murder-

  1. The Billboard idea is a great idea to try and shake something loose from the regional community — I still think her killer was (or still is) a local person — after all these years, somebody out there has to know something…

  2. It’s so sad but i have repeatedly told her police my story with an attacker in 1974 in a bright Yellow beetle. He offered me a ride, he was about 20-24 in 1974. I escaped with my life. He liked country roads with no one around. Each time I hear a different story; the old woman who mentioned the VW was discredited, we couldn’t find anyone, . .I told them I could still ID him. The last time i called they never called me back. Sad.

    • Dawn — I am not sure when you last reached out to law enforcement authorities, but there is definitely a renewed effort and focus on this case, with fresh personnel involved (see the recent billboard above posted outside of Cobleskill). The similarities around your situation and some of the facts surounding Katherine’s murder are important and should be definitely explored further. I would strongly encourage you to make an effort to contact the appropriate authorities on this case again…

    • I would call Crime Stoppers again, and again, and again. It’s terrible no one got back to you. I have other articles regarding this crime on this blog with phone numbers listed for the State Police. maybe you could call them also. Thank you for leaving your comment.

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