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Mary Murphy was born in Queens, New York and has spent her entire broadcasting career in her hometown. During her time at PIX11, Mary has anchored coverage of the 9/11 terror attacks, reported “live” during Superstorm Sandy, and did “live” coverage from Vatican City, when Pope Francis was elected in 2013. That’s the same year that Mary launched her “Mary Murphy Mystery” segment, which looks at unsolved crimes and missing persons cases. She’s also a member of the PIX11 Investigates unit. Her work in television journalism has been honored with 25 Emmy awards, along with an Edward R. Murrow for writing, and many, first-place prizes from the Associated Press Broadcasters’ Association. She won her most recent Emmy for a six-part series called “Heroin, A to Z.”

Mary is the daughter of Irish immigrants; her mother, Mary, is from County Galway and her late father, James, hailed from County Mayo. Her parents met in Rockaway Beach and initially settled in Woodside. Mary’s father was a New York City bus driver. Mary graduated from Queens College, Magna Cum Laude, and was selected for an internship with WCBS TV in the 1980’s. That was Mary’s entry into the news business, and she never looked back.

Mary has worked at PIX11 during two, different phases of her career. She spent five years here in the 1980’s, working her way up from production assistant to reporter.
During this initial phase at PIX11, Mary produced some of the first, local TV stories on the AIDS crisis and was out on the streets covering the violence associated with the crack cocaine epidemic.

In 1986, CBS 2 hired Mary as a general assignment correspondent. She covered breaking news there for seven years, including months of coverage associated with the assassination of NYPD Officer, Edward Byrne. Mary was the first, New York television reporter to air the confession tapes of the suspects. She reported “live” during the truck bombing of One World Trade Center in 1993. She won Emmy awards at CBS 2 for reporting on the John Gotti and Joel Steinberg trials.

Mary returned to PIX11 in 1993, where she was given opportunities to anchor, produce documentaries, and continue to break stories. In 1994, she interviewed the real people behind the Oscar-winning film, “Schindler’s List.” The project was honored with a national award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

In 1995, while six months pregnant, Mary covered the visit of Pope John Paul II (now a saint!) to New Jersey and New York. John Paul tapped Mary’s PIX 11 microphone, when she asked him a question, and that’s a special memory. She covered his Mass at Giants Stadium in the pouring rain!

In 1996, Mary responded to the crash of TWA Flight 800, off Center Moriches, Long Island. 230 passengers and crew members bound for Paris from JFK perished. For years, there was intense debate about the cause. In July 2001, Mary was the lead reporter on the Emmy-winning newscast that marked the fifth anniversary of the disaster.

In 2006, shortly before the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Mary visited a field in County Cork, Ireland, where a New York-based nurse had planted 343 trees in honor of the firefighters who gave their lives responding to the September 11th terror attacks.

On Sunday, May 1st, 2011, Mary was in her pajamas on a Sunday night, when she received an e-mail that President Obama was going to announce the death of the “Most Wanted” terrorist in the world, Osama bin Laden. Mary quickly changed, went into work, and landed on the lawn of retired firefighter, Bob Beckwith, at 4:30 am. Beckwith had stood with then-President George W. Bush on top of a demolished fire truck, three days after 9/11, when the President declared the terrorists who knocked down the towers would be hearing from the United States very soon. Weeks later, our War on Terror was launched in Afghanistan.

In early 2012, Mary traveled to Rome with Dan Mannarino to cover the elevation of New York’s Archbishop, Timothy Michael Dolan, to Cardinal. They worked many long hours, but it was an incredible venue to be working from.

Never in their wildest dreams did Dan and Mary think they’d be returning to Rome the next year, 2013, when Pope Benedict XVI surprisingly resigned—and a new leader of the Catholic Church was about to be selected. Mary and Dan were in St. Peter’s Square on March 13, 2013, when the white smoke signaled that a new Pope had been elected in the Sistine Chapel. That was Francis.

In November 2014, Mary produced a six-part series called “Heroin, A to Z” that looked at the explosion of heroin use—and fatalities—among young people in the middle class. At one point, she reunited a Suffolk County police officer with a 21 year old woman he had saved twice from an overdose, in the same month. The woman was then clean a year and working full time.

Mary was thrilled on January 25, 2015, when she received an e-mail about one of her Mystery segments from the year before. The e-mail led to an emotionally powerful reunion between a biological mother—and the child she had left behind in Brooklyn 38 years before.

Outside of work, Mary’s passions are movies—and tennis. She plays ladies’ doubles, and her community team has won four, first place championships, since they started playing together in 2006.

Mary is grateful for the opportunities journalism has brought her to see the world. And she identifies with so many people who, like her, came from ordinary backgrounds—but witnessed extraordinary things.

Recent Articles
  • Young Brooklyn woman wonders if she was in suspected serial killer’s grasp

    EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn — Ten years ago, Fatimah was 16 years old and living in East New York, Brooklyn. She told PIX11 she ran away from her adoptive parents and made a bad decision to go to the Linden Houses for a party. She got drunk. She said the night got worse from there. Fatimah, who had concerns about her last name being published, told PIX11 she was raped by a mystery man in a van, after he convinced […]

  • Long Island man haunted by St. Patrick’s Day kick that left little brother brain dead

    MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. — Twenty years ago this St. Patrick’s Day, James Watt was a 30-year-old New York City Corrections Officer, marching in the parade up Fifth Avenue. He expected to see his 17-year-old brother, Michael, near the famous toy store, FAO Schwartz. That never happened. As soon as Watt finished marching, he was summoned to New York Hospital. Michael Sarti, his beloved little brother, was on the verge of death. The junior at Lehman High School in the Bronx had been beaten […]

  • Suspected serial killer tells beheaded teen’s mother in court, ‘You know I love you’

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — In a bizarre courtroom moment, a suspected serial killer turned to the mother of a teenage victim whose body was dismembered and beheaded and mouthed the words, “You know I love you.” Kwauhuru Govan, 38, is accused of killing and cutting up 19-year-old Rashawn Brazell in February 2005. Govan lived across the street from the Brazell family and knew the victim’s mother, Desire, from the Gates Avenue block in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Rashawn was last seen on Feb. […]

  • Kidnapping, rape survivors Elizabeth Smart and Amanda Berry meet for the first time

    CLEVELAND, Ohio — Amanda Berry, 30, went to work this month in television, reporting a daily segment on Missing Persons for WJW TV in Cleveland, a sister station to PIX11. She knows what it’s like to be missing. Berry spent 10 years in captivity, after she was kidnapped the day before her 17th birthday in 2003. She was held by her friend’s father, along with two other women, in the former bus driver’s house. The captor, Ariel Castro, impregnated Berry, and […]

  • FIRST ON PIX11: 2 more dismembered victims possibly tied to suspected Brooklyn serial killer

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Kwauhuru Govan lived on Gates Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn, for years, and the NYPD thinks he didn’t travel too far from home to find his murder victims. PIX11 News learned Friday that Govan, already accused in the 2005 beheading and dismemberment of 19-year-old Rashawn Brazell along with the 2004 slaying of 17-year-old Sharabia Thomas, is now suspected in two other dismemberment cases. The body parts of one victim, John Doe, were discovered in a Maspeth Avenue transfer station […]

  • Correction on El Chapo photo

    MANHATTAN, N.Y. — There were questions raised Thursday evening about where a recent photo of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman — the Mexican drug lord — was taken. A PIX11 source told us the photo was taken in the downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center, shortly after Guzman was flown to New York from Mexico on Jan. 19. The billionaire drug lord was seen wearing a tan prison suit and standing in a cell. The source who sent the photo to PIX11 Thursday was […]

  • FIRST ON PIX11: Suspect in 2005 cold-case killing of dismembered Brooklyn teen linked to 2nd teen slaying

    BROOKLYN — An amazing revelation came in Brooklyn Supreme Court Wednesday in the cold-case killing and dismemberment of Brooklyn teen Rashawn Brazell, whose body parts were found in trash bags in 2005 in a subway tunnel. It turns out the accused, Kwauhuru Govan, was charged in November 2016 with the 2004 murder of 17-year-old Sharabia Thomas, who had disappeared on her way to school in Bedford-Stuyvesant for a field trip. Investigators say it is not clear if Govan is a serial […]

  • Obscure 2004 ‘cold case’ may have led PIX11 — and the NYPD — to a serial killer of teens

    BROOKLYN — PIX11 News received the Facebook tip in early May 2016, after we traveled to the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We had flown to the Caribbean to cover the story of Veron Primus, who was later accused of strangling Brooklyn honors student, Chanel Petro Nixon, in 2006, when she was 16 years old. A woman in Brooklyn wrote the Mary Murphy Mystery Facebook page and asked me to check out the earlier, unsolved strangulation of […]

  • From diners to soup kitchens, elderly are preyed upon to participate in Medicare fraud

    BROOKLYN — The storefronts dot the landscape on Avenues V and Y in Sheepshead Bay and Mill Basin —and also parts of Flushing, Queens They have posters on the windows that say things like Multi Specialty clinic and Physical Therapy. Ownership can shift. A medical doctor is often hired for his name only, so Medicare can be billed for services that may not be performed. Some of these clinics are not real clinics at all. They’re facilities meant to facilitate […]

  • Investigation underway in death of phony nun who ran subway begging scheme

    NEW YORK – When asked if Vivian Sannicola died under mysterious circumstances, her stepson Marino Legrand gave PIX11 a quick answer. “Not that I know,” Legrand said. “It was natural.” Legrand was raised by the woman who served as stepmother to dozens of children fathered by self-proclaimed bishop Devernon Legrand. “My stepmother, she was good,” Legrand said. “[She] took care of all of us.” They all lived at 222 Brooklyn Ave. in the 1960s and 1970s, and many of Devernon […]