SCHOHARIE, NY — Police investigators are looking for new leads in a nearly 25-year-old murder case — Schoharie County’s oldest unsolved homicide.
Katherine Kolodziej was a 17-year-old freshman at the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill when she disappeared the night of Nov. 2, 1974. She left her friends at a Cobleskill bar and wasn’t heard from again.
On Nov. 28 of that year, her body was found five miles away in a Richmondville field. She was naked from the waist down and had been stabbed repeatedly in the back.
After years of fruitless investigation, police held a press conference Wednesday in Schoharie in an attempt to drum up new leads and finally solve Kolodziej’s murder.
“The purpose of this is to heighten awareness of what occurred, hopefully to develop the one lead that would break this case,” said Maj. Bart Johnson, Troop G commander. “This also reinforces the fact that (unsolved) homicide cases never close.”
Since Kolodziej’s death, more than 3,000 people have been interviewed, Johnson said, including the entire student body of Cobleskill Tech. The initial investigation revealed the following:
On the night of Nov. 2, at about 1:30 a.m., Kolodziej left a Main Street bar called the Vault (no longer in existence).
Partway between the bar and the campus, an elderly woman looking out a second-story window observed a woman matching Kolodziej’s description climb into the passenger side of a yellow Volkswagen Beetle.
About 15 minutes later, a delivery man at Agway near the campus saw a yellow Volkswagen Beetle in the parking lot and heard a woman yelling inside.
Police conducted a nationwide search of cars matching the description, but found nothing.
“We’ve been unable to identify the yellow Volkswagen or even that those events did take place,” Johnson said.
Soon after her disappearance, police were notified that a shoe matching a description of one belonging to Kolodziej’s was found on McDonald Road in Richmondville. On Nov. 28, 1974, police found Kolodziej’s body a half-mile from the shoe, in a field, on a low stone wall lined with trees and bushes.
“She was right on top of the rock wall,” said Investigator Peter Scotti.
No murder weapon was recovered, but police said she had been stabbed repeatedly with several different types of knives. Her wounds were in the back, back of her neck, and shoulders.
Police would not comment whether Kolodziej had been sexually assaulted. But police have DNA evidence of an unspecified type.
Serial killers such as Theodore “Ted” Bundy and Louis Lent were even interviewed in connection with Kolodziej’s death.
“It was determined they were not responsible and had nothing to do with the disappearance or homicide,” Johnson said.
Senior Investigator Michael Guiry said friends described Kolodziej, a Ronkonkoma native, as friendly and popular.
“I would say she was just an average 17-year-old girl,” he said. “She seemed to be happy-go-lucky.”
Her parents, Edward and Hedwig, still live on Long Island. The renewed push to solve the murder has raised painful emotions with her mother, Guiry said.
“Her father, his attitude was, it’s been 25 years. Forget about solving it. It’s not going to happen,” Guiry said. “But they’re 100 percent behind this.”
I submitted this article to A & E’s Cold Case File. Maybe they will investigate. I went to Connetquot High School with Kathy. I didn’t know her well but my friend, Ramona did. Ramona would visit Kathy’s parents. They lived a few blocks from me. Her mother always had roses growing along the fence and in the yard. I think one or both of her parents may still be alive.
Kevin K. Singer
The Daily Star
Thank you to all who have posted comments and memories. If any one has information regarding Kathy’s murder, or perhaps you were one of the students who was never interviewed, but have information, please contact the New York State Police as noted, below.
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