WALLKILL, N.Y. (PIX11) — Megan McDonald, an NYPD detective’s daughter, will forever be 20 years old, but investigators who’ve worked since 2003 to solve her cold-case murder wanted the public to remember what should have been her 40th birthday on Monday.
“Megan McDonald would have been 40 years old on May 2 … but when her mother and sister close their eyes, they see a 20-year-old woman whose potential was limitless,” said Paul DiGiacamo, president of the Detective’s Endowment Association. “Her killer is out there somewhere, hiding like a coward for the past 20 years.”
The DEA and FBI each offered $10,000 rewards for information that leads to an arrest. The investigation picked up new steam following a PIX11 News report on the case in March. New evidence was revealed by investigators, including information that the suspected killer was driving a Honda Civic hatchback that had a very loud sound system.
The car was seen following McDonald’s white Mercury Sable into a parking lot near Kensington Manor apartments in Walkill, Orange County in the early hours of March 14, 2003. More than a day later, McDonald’s battered body was found on a dirt path near Bowser Road in another section of Walkill.
“This case is unique in nature,” said Brad Natalizio, Major Crimes Investigator with the New York State Police. “The level of violence we saw inflicted on Megan is something I’ve never seen in another case.”
McDonald was a SUNY Orange college student working her way through school with a waitressing job at the American Cafe in the Galleria Mall. The student’s father, Dennis McDonald, had retired from the NYPD in 2000 and died suddenly in 2002 at the age of 47, a year before his daughter was brutally bludgeoned to death.
The murder investigation revealed that Megan McDonald was sitting in the driver’s seat of her own car when she was suddenly set upon by a killer in the back seat.
“He attacked my sister from behind,” Karen McDonald Whelan told PIX11 News in March. “He was a coward, and he can’t keep hiding.”
A passenger who was in the car that night died a number of years ago. He previously told investigators he was tormented by what he witnessed.
State police investigators said they want the suspect’s friends to know that they’re not a target of this investigation. New information from friends could help enhance a case that already has significant DNA evidence.
Anyone with information on Megan McDonald’s cold case can call a confidential tip line at Troop F Major Crimes Division: 845-344-5370, Investigator Michael Corletta at SP Greenville BCI: 845-344-5300, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.