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Disappeared

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Each chapter focuses on a single case of the 4 men who disappeared mysteriously in New York.

Here are the 4 missing men:

Brian "Q" Quinn

Brian "Q" Michael Quinn

Born: March 14, 1976

Disappeared: April 18, 1998 (age 22)

Hometown: Staten Island, NY, USA

Status: Still missing for 19 years

Gender: Male

Race: European

Ethnicity: Irish and Italian

Skin color: White

Height: 5'11

Weight: 200 pounds

Body type: Average built

Hair color: Brown

Hair type: Shoulder length, shaggy

Eye color: Brown


James "Murr" Murray

James "Murr" Stephen Murray

Born: May 1, 1976

Disappeared: June 3, 1999 (age 23)

Hometown: Staten Island, NY, USA

Residence: Manhattan, NY, USA

Status: Still missing for 18 years

Gender: Male

Race: European

Ethnicity: Irish

Skin color: White

Height: 5'9

Weight: 140 pounds

Body type: Slim toned

Hair color: Brown

Hair type: Short with a bald spot

Eye color: Brown


Joseph "Joe" Gatto Jr.

Joseph "Joe" Anthony Gatto Jr.

Born: June 5, 1976

Disappeared: July 13, 2000 (age 24)

Hometown: Staten Island, NY, USA

Residence: Lynbrook, NY, USA

Status: Still missing for 17 years

              Declared dead in absentia

Gender: Male

Race: European

Ethnicity: Italian

Skin color: Tan

Height: 5'9

Weight: 190 pounds

Body type: Thick built

Hair color: Dark brown

Hair type: Short, spiky

Eye color: Baby blue


 And last but not least...

Salvatore "Sal" Vulcano Jr.

Salvatore "Sal" Edward Anthony Vulcano Jr.

Born: November 6, 1976

Disappeared: December 17, 2001 (age 25)

Hometown: Staten Island, NY, USA

Status: Still missing for 16 years

Gender: Male

Race: White Hispanic

Ethnicity: Italian, Cuban, and Puerto Rican

Skin color: Tan

Height: 5'10

Weight: 220 pounds

Body type: Heavyset

Hair color: Dark brown

Hair type: Short, cropped

Eye color: Green


We will explore their recent lives and last actions prior to disappearing. By the time the chapters are finished, their cases may be resolved with a variety of outcomes; but most often their cases may not be explained at the time the chapter is uploaded.

Chapter Text

 

Brian "Q" Quinn

Brian "Q" Michael Quinn

Born: March 14, 1976

Disappeared: April 18, 1998 (age 22)

Hometown: Staten Island, NY, USA

Residence: Brooklyn, NY, USA

Status: Still missing for 19 years

Gender: Male

Race: European

Ethnicity: Irish and Italian

Skin color: White

Height: 5'11

Weight: 200 pounds

Body type: Average built

Hair color: Brown

Hair type: Shoulder length, shaggy

Eye color: Brown

Education: Brooklyn College

Parents: James Quinn (Father)

                 Carol Murphy (Mother)

Siblings: Jimmy Quinn (Older brother)

                 Danny Quinn (Younger brother)

Spouse(s): Mallory Davis (Girlfriend)

                    Dated: 1997–1998

Occupation(s): Comedian, Actor, and Producer

Years active: 1996–1998


 Background

He was born to parents, Carol Murphy and James Quinn. He is the middle of 3 brothers: Jimmy (older) and Danny (younger). He has Irish and Italian ancestry.

Education and Career

He attended Monsignor Farrell High School where he was involved in numerous activities including drama and sports. There he performed in musicals such as Bye Bye Birdie (playing the lead role as Conrad Birdie), Meet Me In Saint Louis, On The Town and Godspell. During high school, he worked as a fish hauler at Fulton Fish Market. In 1997, he worked at ViewAskew with founder Kevin Smith. Following his graduation, he attended Brooklyn College and got a job as a ride operator at Beachland Amusements at the time he disappeared.

Brian made his acting debut in the movie, Warshots in 1996, playing a soldier.


 Disappearance

Early on the morning of Saturday, April 18, 1998, a fellow student and friend of Quinn's, Bryan Johnson, was found dead in his dormitory room as a result of accidental asphyxiation by illuminating gas. Later, at about 9 AM, Quinn was observed leaving his room in the Williamsburg Village Complex dormitory. When he failed to return later that afternoon, his friends entered his quarters and discovered a note in Quinn's handwriting. College officials examined the note and reported that it contained the line, “Dad, I am going home”, and included content indicating that Quinn was in a “confused” state of mind. Quinn's mother showed the note to a physician who determined that he may have been suffering from mental illness at the time he disappeared.

Before his disappearance, Quinn was dating Mallory Davis, a student at St. John's University College for a year. Davis reported to police that Quinn asked her to buy him poison a week before he disappeared. She refused the request. Police also examined letters exchanged by Quinn and Davis, indicating they had recently quarreled. In May 10, Davis was cleared of any involvement in Quinn's disappearance.

Quinn was last seen wearing a long-sleeved, blue-and-white plaid button shirt over a short-sleeved, black t-shirt, faded blue jeans, and black-and-white sneakers. He also had a distinctive tattoo of the word, "Quixotic" on his left arm. He was believed to be carrying $250 in cash.


 Investigation

The day Quinn was reported missing, College staff and students searched the campus. The following day, the NYPD and local Boy Scouts conducted ground searches in the area including Mt. Tom in Holyoke, Massachusetts where Quinn reportedly enjoyed hiking. Quinn's father, James, posted a $10,000.00 reward for information leading to his discovery and local radio stations in Springfield and Schenectady, NY broadcast his description.

In the weeks that followed, Police investigated numerous reports from witnesses in nearby communities. A druggist believed he saw her on the morning of the 18th and stated that she had inquired about the local trolley schedule. Trolley crews, however stated that no man resembling Quinn had ridden the line that day. Witnesses in Staten Island and Long Island reported seeing a young man resembling Quinn who had a "Quixotic" tattoo on his left arm. One week after Mt. Tom was searched, a witnesses claimed to have seen Quinn hiking in the area, spurring an additional search of the site.

On April 20, telephone linemen working on Whiting Peak near Mt. Tom reported being held at gunpoint by a young man resembling Quinn who demanded food and then escaped into the woods.

In early May, a resident came forward claiming to have seen a boy “with a "Quixotic" tattoo” walking down an embankment toward the East River in Brooklyn around the time of Quinn's disappearance. Police linked this report with an earlier sighting of a long-sleeved, blue-and-white plaid button shirt on the same area of the river.

On May 13, State Polic Detective, Casey Jost said he believed Quinn had "wandered away" and was dead.

Widespread publicity of the case also produced false reports and hoaxes. In October 1998, police and newspapers reported receiving "many" crank letters about the case. In January 1999, a resident of Troy, NY twice tried to collect a reward by claiming a butler employed at his boarding house was Quinn. In February, a middle-aged man turned himself in to the police at Cheshire, MA claiming to be Quinn. In March, a message in a bottle purportedly written by Quinn was retrieved from the East River near Manhattan. The note indicated that Quinn was being held captive in caves near Albany, NY. While police believed the event to be a hoax, they searched the area but discovered no new evidence.

Searches of urban areas, woodlands, and waterways in Western New York continued throughout the spring and summer of 1999. In January, James Quinn enlisted the help of a boatman to search the East River and in July, as canals at various mills in and around Brooklyn were drained for annual maintenance, a search was made for Quinn's body and clothing.

In August 2000, James Quinn renewed search efforts of wilderness areas by publicizing a $100,000.00 reward at the opening of hunting season.


 Aftermath

Interest in the Quinn case was revived in 2001 when another Brooklyn College student, Joey Fatone vanished from his residence on campus on February 14. In April 2002, Fatone's body was recovered from the East River near Manhattan, but no official cause of death was reported.

In 2006, a Philadelphia man confessed to killing Quinn while living in Albany, NY in 1999. He later recanted and, following an investigation, police dismissed his confession as false.

In 2009, human bones discovered in a shallow grave in Brooklyn were initially suspected be Quinn but later identified as historic Native American remains.

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Death and discovery of the body

According to a 2018 article in the New York Times, Quinn was abducted then was taken to Northmoreland Township, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania where he tortured and murdered in a sawmill in the mountains about 15 miles (24 km) from the creek the day he went missing where his remains were later found. According to theories by the police, the killer had attempted to dismember his body and destroy it in the mill's firebox, but had been scared off by the mill's owner, Jesse Bravo. Bravo had assumed that the killer was a mere trespasser and had fired a warning shot in the killer's direction. The killer then drove to a point close to the creek and carried Quinn's body the final 75 yards to the creek, where he abandoned it.

Initially, it was suspected that Quinn's disappearance was linked to a sex slavery ring. However, his body was discovered in the forested wilderness of Northmoreland Township, Wyoming County, on December 17, 2017, about 151 miles (243 km) from his residence in Brooklyn, NY. The discoverer was 42-year-old Mike Boccio, who was trapping muskrats in the area. Boccio noticed a large burlap bag partially submerged in 2 feet (0.61 m) of water in a creek. Upon further investigation, he found the bag to contain the human skeletal remains. The remains soon identified as Brian Quinn's by his family from a facial reconstruction photograph of him. At the time of his body's discovery, police estimated he had been dead for at least 24 hours. If not for Boccio's discovery of his remains, it may have gone unnoticed for several years.

Quinn's body showed signs of having been beaten—perhaps with a rock—and strangled. He had broken ribs, as well as knife wounds on his ribs and thigh. His autopsy found the cause of death to be strangulation and stated that he probably had "suffered the molestation of a degenerate".


 

Initial investigation

After the discovery of Quinn's remains, approximately 75 state troopers combed the area in search of clues. However, no tire tracks were seen near the site where her body was found, and the burlap bag proved to be of no use in identifying any suspects. According to The Citizens' Voice, burned cloth matching the clothing Quinn was wearing when he was last seen was discovered at an abandoned sawmill near Forkston. However, an article in The Kane Republican stated that this was not the origin of the cloth. An incident involving a bundle of clothing being thrown from a car near Orwigsburg proved to be unrelated to Quinn's killing.

In December 22nd, the Brooklyn tribune predicted that Quinn's killer would be arrested within 24 hours.

Many hundreds of people attended Quinn's funeral at St. John Church in Staten Island on December 24th, the day before Christmas. Plain clothes police officers also attended his funeral in the hopes of noticing anyone suspicious attending.

Several theories about the identity of Quinn's murderer were suggested by locals. These included a mortician from Wyoming County, a businessman's son who left the area soon after the murder, a local assistant pastor, a teacher at LIU Post, and a local man who allegedly stated he used to had a fling with Quinn during the time of his disappearance. Two middle-aged men, who had attempted to attack a 21-year-old man in Chelsea, NY, were also investigated. Some investigators believed that due to the killer's familiarity with the area's terrain, the killer must have been a local. More recently, it has been suggested that the killer was actually a non-local serial killer.


 

Impact and aftermath

On December 28, 2017, New York state senator, Cranjis McBasketball stated that at the next state legislature, he would introduce a bill making sex crimes punishable by execution and requiring registration for all sex offenders. McBasketball had resolved to introduce the bill due to Quinn's murder. Physicians and welfare and social service workers would also be required to report anyone with tendencies towards such offenses.

By the beginning of 2018, most clues pertaining to Quinn's murder had proven to be useless. The manhunt for the killer was still ongoing in February of that year, but the police had not turned up any more information. In May 14th, further clues were discovered, but the killer was not identified.

Although a very large number of suspects were investigated after Quinn's death, no perpetrator was ever identified.

In July 5th, Howie Mendel of New York City confessed to Quinn's murder. However, his confession was proven to be false after ten hours of investigation. Mendel was not charged with that crime although he did confess to several other crimes.

In August 17th, exactly 8 months after the discovery of Quinn's remains, the case was one of the few major unsolved murders in New York. In September 14th, Pete McPartland, who was at the time the Wyoming County District Attorney, stated that even with modern criminal investigation methods and forensic techniques, it is unlikely that the identity of Quinn's killer will be discovered. It is presumed that the killer has moved away, incarcerated or now long-deceased.

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James "Murr" Murray

James "Murr" Stephen Murray

Born: May 1, 1976

Disappeared: June 3, 1999 (age 23)

Hometown: Staten Island, NY, USA

Residence: Manhattan, NY, USA

Status: Still missing for 18 years

Gender: Male

Race: European

Ethnicity: Irish

Skin color: White

Height: 5'9

Weight: 140 pounds

Body type: Slim toned

Hair color: Brown

Hair type: Short with a bald spot

Eye color: Brown

Education: Georgetown University

Parents: Stephen Murray (Father)

                Linda Faye (Mother)

Siblings: Christine Murray (Oldest sister)

                 Danielle Murray (Middle sister)

Spouse(s): Tara Reid (Ex-girlfriend)

                    Dated: 1994–1998

Broken up: 1998

Children: Jamie Murray (Son)

Occupation(s): Comedian, Actor, and Producer

Years active: 1997–1999


Background

He was born to parents, Stephen Murray and Linda Faye. He has two older sisters, Christine and Danielle. He has Irish ancestry.

Education and Career

He attended Monsignor Farrell High School on Staten Island where he did community theatre. He performed in many musicals. He continued his education at Georgetown University where he received a BA in English. In 1997, James made an appearance as a student in the autobiographical comedy movie, Private Parts, which featured Howard Stern. The following year, he portrayed Judas in the movie Damned!, which he also directed.

He worked at NorthSouth Productions where he was the Senior Vice President of Development. He had produced shows for truTV, A&E, TLC, MTV and others.


Disappearance

On October 7, 1998, Murray's ex-girlfriend, Tara Reid filed a paternity suit against a him, who she named as the father of her unborn baby. He and Reid were dating at the time they attended Georgetown University in 1994. After graduation, Murr moved to Manhattan to further his career, but he and Ried remained in contact. On April 10, 1999, Reid gave birth to a baby boy, who she named Jamie.

On the evening of June 2, 1999, Murray and Reid spent several hours alone together. Early in the evening, Murray's personal dresser saw him talking with Reid and, around midnight, an Manhattan police officer observed Murray's car parked in front of the Reid family home. Shortly after midnight, Murray informed his oldest sister, Danielle that he and Reid had decided to marry. Stating that they were traveling to New York City that night, he packed a small travel bag and said he would return later in the week to retrieve his son. He left in Reid's car.

On June 3rd, the day of the scheduled paternity hearing, Murr's sisters encountered Reid who denied making any marriage or travel plans with Murr and stated that she dropped him off at Manhattan's Union Station hours before. When questioned by police, Reid said that she had admitted to falsely accusing him of paternity and she had expressed apprehension about the day's court proceedings. She said she was unaware of where Murray intended to travel that night and that he may have been suicidal. Reid's claims were supported by letters Murray wrote to friends in May in which he expressed a desire to commit suicide.

On July 6th, Murray's attorney received a telegram ostensibly signed by Murray, directing him to withdraw the paternity case. Police later discovered the telegram was ordered from a pay telephone in New York City by a caller who provided a false address. The identity of the sender was never determined.

In 2000, several witnesses claimed they had seen or spoken to Murray in the weeks and months following his disappearance, but police were unable to confirm any sightings of Murray subsequent to June 3, 1998.


Investigation

Early in the investigation, police discovered that, between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM the day of Murray's disappearance, the Manhattan train dispatcher and station master received three telephone calls to the station's unlisted phone numbers. The callers, one of whom claimed to be the Georgetown switchboard operator, requested that Murray be located and prevented from boarding the train. Searches of the station that night failed to locate Murray. Subsequent police investigation showed that no such calls were placed from the Georgetown telephone exchange and the callers were never identified.

While Reid remained a person of interest throughout the investigation, police also questioned several other people who they believed were connected to Murray's disappearance. Early in 2000, police investigated a Putnam, Connecticut woman who had corresponded with Murray and had traveled to Florida with an unidentified companion around the time of his disappearance, but they later ruled out any further connection with the case. In March 2000, police questioned a man who claimed to have shared an apartment with Murray in Manhattan but that witness was later committed to a psychiatric hospital.

The NYPD conducted extensive searches for Murray's body which continued for years after his disappearance. In the belief that Murray may have been clandestinely buried in a Georgetown cemetery, police exhumed several graves in 2000 and 20002. In April 2000, police carried out a ground search for Murray in locations across Manhattan County including numerous ponds and areas in the nearby Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. In 2000, police interviewed a local mystic who claimed that Murray was being held captive in the area by an unknown man. Three years after Murray's disappearance, a detective assigned to the case stated that he believed Murray was alive.


Aftermath

In 2012, Murray's ex-girlfriend, Tara Reid filed a paternity suit against the Murray family, reviving the police investigation into her ex-boyfriend's disappearance after nearly 13 years. Reid asked a probate judge to declare Murray as the legal father of her son, but her case was thrown out in 2015.


Publicity

Murray's case received wide publicity in New York in the 2000s and was covered by national wire services. In December 2001, "The Disappearance of James "Murr" Murray" was the subject of New York's WOR radio "Mystery Stories" program. In February 2002, Liberty Magazine published a feature-length article on the case. An article about the 1996 disappearance of James McCarthy from Pace University cited the Murray case, along with the 1998 disappearance of Brian "Q" Quinn from Brooklyn College as examples of other mysterious disappearances of New York college men.

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Death

Murray was killed in a one vehicle crash, along with an unknown male driver, which was later revealed to be Jake von Wagner after the Vanagon, in which they were riding, crashed into a pair of trees on U.S. Route 96 West around 1:30 PM on July 5, 1999. Neither man was wearing a seat belt, which likely contributed to each of their deaths. Found with Murray's body were two Grateful Dead tickets from Washington, D.C., which had been scalped, a dollar in quarters, and a yellow BIC lighter. A letter was found, depending on sources either in the John Doe's pocket or near the crash site, reading: "To Murr, Sorry we had to go, see you around, call me #555-XXXX. Danica M. and Danica N. Bye!!!!". The phone number on the letter lacked an area code and never led to any additional clues. The letter also contained a small drawing that some speculate may be of Hercules Balls. The tickets were dated July 3, 1999, and July 4, 1999, respectively. Neither of the 'Danicas' have ever been identified.


Physical description

The young man, estimated to be between the ages of 18 and 25 years old, had brown eyes with short brown hair with a bald spot. There was a tattoo of a ferret on his right thigh. He was wearing a beaded necklace and his left ear had been pierced but he did not wear an earring. There was a scar found on his back. He was a White or European (possibly Irish/Scottish/Welsh or Caucasian), had no apparent dental work as his third molars were visible. However, his teeth were fairly well cared for. At the time of the accident he was wearing a red, tie-dyed Grateful Dead T-shirt, Levi's jeans, white socks and black Fila running shoes.


 Investigation

The vehicle's driver was identified as Jake von Wagner, 24, who may have picked the John Doe up as a hitchhiker, and who authorities hypothesize may have fallen asleep at the wheel, as neither of the decedents had drugs or alcohol in their bodies. It has been suggested that Wagner may have agreed to transport the John Doe because of their similar styles of dress, as they both appeared to be fans of The Grateful Dead. Authorities attempted to identify the John Doe through fingerprint analysis with the aid of national databases but were unsuccessful.

When interviewed, Wagner's family could not identify the unknown passenger, who had been reported to have been riding in Wagner's Volkswagen Vanagon when he stopped to give his father a letter in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. However, a detective from the area stated that this claim was not accurate, and that Wagner was alone when he stopped to visit his father. It is speculated that the unidentified young man had actually been picked up between Manhattan and Wyoming County, NY.

Due to the severity of the lacerations on John Doe's face, mortuary photographs could not be released to the public, although a facial reconstruction was later released In 2014, another facial reconstruction was created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The man who had originally bought the tickets found in John Doe's pocket did not remember the person he had sold them to. At least 222 missing people were ruled out as possible identities of the victim.

In 2018, photographs surfaced of a young man wearing similar clothing to that worn by the John Doe and who bore a strong resemblance to the reconstruction images. The person in these photographs was named Murr and was described to have been a fan of Grateful Dead. He had not been heard from since 1999 and was known to have lived in both Staten Island and Manhattan. It had not yet been verified whether this was indeed the John Doe as his former roommates and other friends did not recall Murr's last name. The New York Post and BuzzFeed were some of the newspapers that covered the story.

In June 9, 2018, law enforcement conducted a DNA test to see if the John Doe was the same man as James "Murr" Stephen Murray, the son of a 70-year-old man who had not seen or heard from him since June 1999, when he went missing. Murray, who was identified as the young man in the photographs, is described as having been a white male with wavy blonde hair and brown eyes, standing between 5 ft. 8 in. (1.55 meters) and 5 ft. 10 in. (1.78 meters) tall, and weighing about 140 pounds (50 kilograms). Murray, if he was alive, would have been 42 at the time.

After initial tests proved inconclusive, additional DNA testing confirmed that the body was indeed that of James "Murr" Murray. It also confirmed that Murray was indeed the father of his ex-girlfriend, Tara Reid's baby, Jamie; because of that, on September 9th, Reid won her paternity suit against the Murray family and was granted full custody of her son.


 Aftermath

Although, there were many unanswered questions about Murray's exact whereabouts and whether he may had suffered some kind of mental illness during the time of his disappearance and subsequent death, the Murray family couldn't help but to be happy as Murray's mother, Linda Faye stated, "Our Lil' Murray has finally come home to us and now he can rest in peace."

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Joseph "Joe" Gatto Jr.

Joseph "Joe" Anthony Gatto Jr.

Born: June 5, 1976

Disappeared: July 13, 2000 (age 24)

Hometown: Staten Island, NY, USA

Residence: Lynbrook, NY, USA

Status: Still missing for 17 years

              Declared dead in absentia

Gender: Male

Race: European

Ethnicity: Italian

Skin color: Tan

Height: 5'9

Weight: 190 pounds

Body type: Thick built

Hair color: Dark brown

Hair type: Short, spiky

Eye color: Baby blue

Education: LIU Post

Parents: Joseph Gatto Sr. (Father; Deceased in 1995)

               Gerri Amato (Mother; Deceased in 2007)

Siblings: Gina Gatto (Oldest sister)

                Carla Gatto (Middle sister)

Spouse(s): Bessy Gatto (Wife)

                    Dated: 1994–1998

                    Married: 1998–2000

Children: Milana Gatto (Oldest daughter)

                  Remington Gatto (Youngest son)

Occupation(s): Comedian, Actor, Producer, and Retail store manager

Years active: 1998–2000


 Background

He was born to parents, Joseph Gatto Sr. and Gerri Amato who are both deceased. He has two older sisters, Gina and Carla. He is of Italian descent.


 Education and Career

He attended Monsignor Farrell High School. After graduation, he studied at LIU Post where he received a degree in accounting. He works as a salesman at the baby retail store, Giggle.


 Personal life

While in college, he began dating head cheerleader, Bessy Gatto in 1994; after graduation in 1998, the couple gotten married on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1998. They have two children: daughter, Milana Frances (b. May 7, 1997) and son, Remington Joseph (b. July 31, 1999).


Suspect of the Pariah Dark Murder

Gatto Jr. spent the night in the Manhattan County Jail after he told NYPD detective, Jug McBaldge that he met Christine Morris on 69 Boyne St. two weeks earlier. He claimed to have taken her for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. He did not say where the two of them went or whether they saw one another later. A police psychiatrist delayed a lie detector test on Gatto Jr. until he recovered from what was described as a "befuddled and bewildered" state. Gatto Jr. said that he met Morris in 1998 and secretly had an affair with her several times while still married to his wife, Bessy Gatto. He refused to elaborate on where he met Morris on these occasions.


Disappearance

On the day Morris's body was discovered, July 12, 2000, Gatto Jr., his wife and kids checked into a hotel at Madison Ave in Manhattan, at 10:45 A.M. They then checked out of the hotel on the morning of July 13th. The hotel owner stated that he had not seen the Gatto family after this date.

Although there were several reported sightings of the alleged suspect (notably in Italy in 2012), Gatto Jr.'s true fate remains a mystery.


 Mystery Solved?

Gatto Jr.'s disappearance made national headlines on October 6, 2016 when it was reported that a person, with the exact name and birth year, died that year.

Name: Joseph "Joe" Anthony Gatto

Birth Date: 5 Jun 1976

Death Date: 10 Sept 2016

Cemetery: St. John Cemetery Burial

Cremation Place: Wyoming County, NY, USA

Bio: Unknown

Spouse(s): Bessie Gatto (Wife)

Several days after this scandal, Gatto Jr.'s sisters, Gina and Carla Gatto came forward, suspecting the person may have been their missing younger brother, though a positive DNA identification could not be made.


2016 development

On November 5, 2016, Dr. Frank Contacessa of the New York state medical examiner's office revisited Gatto Jr.'s missing person file, and forensic pathologists were able to retrieve sufficient DNA from the skeletal remains of Joe Gatto, which had remained in storage since its 2016 scandal. In a 2017 article published by The Staten Islander, it was stated that the medical examiners were unable to locate maternal descendants of Gatto Jr. in order to make a positive identification. "They're looking for a maternal link," Dr. Contacessa said, "Someone on his mother's side, and following that lineage to shore it up. There's an association there, but it's not strong at this point."

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"Pinhead Larry" Verrazzano

Four days after Joseph Gatto Jr.'s disappearance, Giuseppe "Pinhead Larry" Verrazzano made his first known appearance at No Name Bar in Los Angeles, CA. Verrazzano immediately attracted attention by sitting on a flagpole for 30 days to raise money for polio. His popularity led to his becoming a bartender, radio announcer, and TV sports director at ESPN. With his flamboyant personality, he became one of LA's most popular personalities.

Verrazzano lived an equally colorful bachelor lifestyle, driving a hearse equipped with pillows, a bar, and an incense burner, aptly naming it his "hunting vehicle". In 2002, Verrazzano married Chà DaBerry, a 20-year-old divorcée, and adopted her daughter. Later they had a son together.

In 2004, it was discovered that Verrazzano had a cancerous tumor behind his left eye. He lost the eye and wore an eye patch, adding to his flamboyance.


 

Reappearance

On February 4, 2018, Verrazzano, who like Gatto Jr., was an archery enthusiast, attended a tournament in Chicago. An acquaintance from Lynbrook saw him and, despite the eye patch and goatee, recognized Gatto Jr.. He then brought Gatto Jr.'s 24-year-old nephew, Giulio DeMarco to have a look. Convinced, he asked him, "Yo bra, aren't you my Uncle Joey who disappeared almost 18 years ago?"

Verrazzano laughed it off, but Mr. DeMarco called in his parents, Vinny DeMarco, and Gina Gatto (Gatto Jr.'s oldest sister), and his aunt, Carla Gatto (Gatto Jr.'s middle sister) from Staten Island who had his fingerprints compared with Gatto Jr.'s; they matched. Verrazzano was now faced with the fact that all his memories were false and that he had two wives.

"It was like a physical shock. Up until that moment, I had no doubt that I was not Joseph Gatto Jr.. But when I heard that, it was like a door had been slammed and somebody had hit me right in the face."

— "Pinhead Larry" Verrazzano


 

Man with Two Wives

Gatto Jr.'s reappearance caused many problems for Bessy Gatto, his first wife. She had been receiving $360 monthly from Social Security. She also received $450,000 from Gatto Jr.'s life insurance that would have to be paid back. Also, Bessy had been dating since her husband's disappearance and legal declaration of death, and had recently accepted a marriage proposal. With the marriage reinstated, her new marriage was impossible since she was Catholic. Since Gatto Jr.'s reappearance, his marriage to Chà was regarded as legally null and void. However, she claimed she would stick by him.


 

Analysis

A team of psychiatrists examined Gatto Jr. for 10 days. Their conclusion was that Verrazzano had no recollection of his former life. There was evidence in his past that he might have wanted to "start again". He was from a well-to-do family and never needed money. Later on, he tried various get-rich-quick schemes that failed. He flunked his first semester at LIU Post because he concentrated more on his donuts stand than his studies. As an adult, he barely made enough money to maintain the lifestyle he was used to, and got into trouble with the IRS, trying to save money by not paying taxes.

According to psychologists, cases of amnesia lasting several years, in which the person filled the missing time with false memories, are rare but not unheard of. Another theory was that the tumor may have been responsible for Gatto Jr.'s apparent memory loss. This was never determined.


 

Death

The malignant tumor that cost Gatto Jr. his left eye eventually resurfaced. Gatto Jr./Verrazzano died on September 16, 2018, at St. John's Medical Hospital in Staten Island. His death meant that the question of whether he was an amnesiac or a hoaxer was never resolved.

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Salvatore "Sal" Vulcano Jr.

Salvatore "Sal" Edward Anthony Vulcano Jr.

Born: November 6, 1976

Disappeared: December 17, 2001 (age 25)

Hometown: Staten Island, NY, USA

Status: Still missing for 16 years

Gender: Male

Race: White Hispanic

Ethnicity: Italian, Cuban, and Puerto Rican

Skin color: Tan

Height: 5'10

Weight: 220 pounds

Body type: Heavyset

Hair color: Dark brown

Hair type: Short, cropped

Eye color: Green

Education: St. John University

Parents: Salvatore "Sal" Vulcano Sr. (Father)

                Dianne Hernández (Mother)

Siblings: KellyAnne Vulcano (Oldest sister)

                Dana Vulcano (Younger sister)

                Jenna Vulcano (Youngest sister)

Spouse(s): Paul DeLuca (Boyfriend)

                    Dated: 1999–2001

Occupation: Comedian, Actor, Producer, and Bar owner

Years active: 1998–2001


 Background

His parents are Dianne Fernandez and Sal Vulcano Sr.. They divorced when he was a child. He has three sisters: Kelly Ann, the eldest, and Dana and Jenna, his two younger sisters. He is of Cuban, Italian, and Puerto Rican descent.


 Education and Career

He attended Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island where he played various sports including hockey, basketball and football. After graduating, he attended St. John's University where he earned a degree in finance. He worked as a pizza delivery guy for a brief time before getting a job as a bartender at The Full Cup, which he co-owned in 2000. Passionate about stand-up comedy, he performs his act across the United States alongside other comedians such as Chris DiStefano, Godfrey and Big Jay Oakerson.

Cast in the role of a lawnmower boy, Sal made his acting debut in the 1998 movie, Damned!, directed by his friend, James Murray.


Disappearance

On December 16th, a Saturday, classes at St. John's University ended for winter break the next week. Sal and his father, Sal Vulcano Sr. celebrated the occasion by going out for a steak dinner together earlier that evening. The older man noted that his son seemed exhausted from having pulled all-nighters earlier in the week cramming for some important upcoming exams. He did not think Sal should go out with a friend, Jason "Big Jay" Oakerson later that night as he planned to do, but he did not express his reservations to his son.

After midnight, the two met Meghan Manduke, a friend of Oakerson, in Manhattan. She gave them a ride back to Soho, where they had started the night and joined them there for a last round. While the three were there, Sal separated from his companions. Oakerson and Manduke had been trying to find him, repeatedly calling him. They left with other patrons when the bar closed at 2 AM, waiting outside for Brian. When he was not among the departing crowd, they assumed he had gone back to his apartment without letting them know.

Sal's family tried to call Sal later that weekend, but he did not answer. On Monday morning, he missed the flight to Universal Orlando Resorts that he and his family had scheduled long before. He was then reported missing to the NYPD.


Investigation

Police began their search for Sal at Soho, the club where he had last been seen. Since the area around Manhattan was somewhat blighted with a high crime rate, the club had installed security cameras. They reviewed the footage, which showed Sal, Big Jay and Meghan going up an escalator to the bar's main entrance at 1:15 AM. Sal was seen outside of the bar around 1:55 AM, talking briefly with two young women and saying goodbye, then moving off-camera in the direction of the bar, apparently to re-enter. The camera did not record him leaving shortly afterwards when Soho closed; that was the last time he was seen.

It was possible, investigators realized, that he could have changed his clothes in the bar or put on a hat and kept his head down, hiding his face from the camera. The cameras might also have missed him—one panned across the area constantly, and the other was operated manually. He might have also left the building by another route. However, the building's only other exit, a service door not generally used by the public, opened at the time onto a construction site that officers believed would have been difficult to walk through while sober, much less intoxicated, as Brian likely was at the time.

Since Manhattan has the most security cameras of any city in New York, more than Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Long Island combined, officers next looked to the footage from other bars to see if cameras there could explain how Sal had left Soho. However, footage from cameras at three other nearby bars showed no trace of Sal.

The search began to fan out from Soho, with officers, sometimes accompanied by police dogs, looking closely in the street, inspecting dumpsters and other waste containers and asking residents if they had seen him. Flyers of Sal's picture, showing a tattoo under his right wrist of a small crucifix and noting a distinctive freckle on of his right eye, were posted widely. The police even persuaded the city to let them into the sewer system and search there. No useful information was uncovered. At Sal's apartment in Staten Island, 5 miles from Soho, his car was still parked outside. Inside, nothing appeared amiss.

After searching miles away from the bar in every direction, police began to consider other possibilities besides an accident or foul play. Since his grandmother had recently died, it was speculated he had gone away temporarily to grieve in solitude; yet his disappearance proved permanent. No evident reasons appeared for him voluntarily disappearing.

Those who had seen Sal that evening, including his father, were asked to take lie detector tests. Manduke and Vulcano Sr. passed theirs, as did reportedly all the others, while Oakerson refused. The two women Sal had last been seen talking to were later identified; they said, in 2005, they had never been asked to take one themselves.

His boyfriend, Paul DeLuca called Sal's phone every evening before going to bed for a long time after Sal's disappearance. It usually went to voicemail, but one night, in May, it actually rang three times. "I kept calling it to hear it purely, because it was one of the best sounds I have ever heard, even if no one picked up", he wrote on his Twitter page. Verizon Wireless, Sal's cellphone provider said what DeLuca heard may have been due to a computer glitch. A ping from the phone was detected at a cell tower in Kingston, PA, 151 miles (243 km) northwest of Staten Island.

The police received many tips, none of which resulted in any breakthroughs in the case. At a Señora Lonza concert later that year in Brooklyn, lead singer, Bitch Carlson took time between songs to ask for tips in Sal's disappearance, but none of those were useful either. Possible sightings in California, Texas, and even Spain were investigated.

Sal Vulcano Sr., who had recently suffered the death of his mother, and Dianne Hernández, Sal's mother, continued the search for their only son. A psychic, they consulted, told him Sal's body was in water near a bridge pier. They and their 3 daughters, KellyAnne (Sal's oldest sister), Dana (Sal's younger sister), and Jenna (Sal's youngest sister), along with some other citizens who had become interested in the case, bought waders and spent much of their free time along the shores of the East River, which flows through Staten Island adjacent to St. John's University campus, searching in vain for the body near bridges.

This possibility also led police to briefly consider the heavily disputed Smush the Clown murder theory. Sal Vulcano Jr., under this theory, would be the killer's only victim whose body had not yet been found. NYPD eventually rejected any connection to the alleged killer in Sal's case, following the lead of most law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that have looked into it.


Subsequent developments

In 2010, Eugene Hugehole, attorney for Oakerson, wrote to Randy Beans, a private investigator who has volunteered his time to help the Vulcano family find Sal, regarding his client's ongoing refusal to take a lie detector test. Hugehole intimated that he had learned that the Columbus police investigating the case believed Brian was alive.

In April 2011, The Legend, New York State's student newspaper, disclosed the exchange. "If Sal is alive, which is what I'm led to believe after speaking with the detective involved, then it is Sal, and not Jason [Big Jay] who is causing his family pain and hardship," Hugehole wrote. "Sal should come forward and end this." Oakerson, he said, did not have anything to hide, he had merely told everything he knew from the beginning and did not see the value of doing so again.

Hugehole's assertions not withstanding many of those who were close to Sal have excoriated Oakerson for not being forthcoming enough. "As soon as the detective started getting involved, that's when he pretty much had no contact with anybody," recalled KellyAnne Vulcano, Sal's oldest sister, "I've always thought he definitely knows something–just won't come forward with it." She believes it is still possible that Sal is alive, and Oakerson knows where he might have gone. Sal's boyfriend at the time, Paul DeLuca also thinks Oakerson is withholding information. However, he believes it's likely that his former boyfriend is dead. "I can't imagine he would have just done that."

In 2017, the NYPD said they were still receiving at least two tips a month on the case via the local Crime Stoppers hotline, though none had proven useful. The evidence in the case filled four boxes of files. One of the original investigators, Caritine Treatments told New York Monthly that after extensive review of the camera footage at Soho from the night Sal disappeared, she could "say with 100% certainty" that Sal did not leave via the escalator. Police say they have three theories of the case but declined to discuss them even generally with the magazine.


Legacy

During the 16 years since Sal's disappearance, his family joined the families of other missing adults in New York in lobbying the state legislature to pass a bill establishing a statewide protocol for such cases. At the time Sal disappeared, it was left up to individual departments how to handle the cases, and some parents felt that investigations into their relatives' disappearances had suffered as a result. The bill became a law in 2004.

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Rediscovery

In June 2018, 18 years after Vulcano Jr. went missing, the NYPD highlighted his disappearance as a cold case in their "Vanished Without A Trace" series. Following that, Vulcano Jr.'s sisters, KellyAnne, Dana, and Jenna decided to do an investigation of their own and was able to find old documents indicating that Vulcano Jr. had lived in the community of Miami, FL, before moving back to Staten Island and settling down. In July, Vulcano Jr.'s sisters placed a plea for help in the Florida News, KellyAnne stating, "We're looking for our relatives: Our parents’ names are Sal Vulcano Sr. and Dianne Hernández. Our brother's name is Sal Vulcano Jr.; he was born in Nov. 6, 1976 in Staten Island, NY." They received a reply from a teenage boy named Salvador from South Beach, FL, who claimed that Vulcano Jr. was his father. Vulcano Jr., who was then 41 years old, was discovered alive and well in Florida; he had married and had 3 children. Vulcano Jr. said he had disappeared because his former boyfriend, Paul DeLuca was abusive and made threats to kill him and dispose his body where no one could find it if he'd ever leave him. Although DeLuca denied these allegations, Vulcano Jr.'s family reported they'd seen signs of abuse in the relationship; Vulcano Jr.'s youngest sister, Jenna reported that she'd witness DeLuca smacking his brother in the face because he was chatting with another guy during Vulcano Jr.'s 24th birthday.

A few months after Vulcano Jr.'s rediscovery, Vulcano Jr.'s family flew to South Beach, FL to reunite with him and to meet Salvador and their 2 other nephews.

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Good morrow, squires!

Thank you to all my fellow readers for taking the time and patience reading Disappeared and explore the recent lives and last actions of the 4 missing men prior to disappearing. I'd appreciate all of your feedback; it means a lot to me. You could leave a comment on what you'd think about my book.

I am making a sequel for this book. I might post it sometime next week. As always, I want some feedback from you guys. I hope you enjoy it.

I bid you adieu.