The headless, armless torso that washed up on a Queens beach last week likely belongs to famed Irish filmmaker and photographer Ross McDonnell, who police say drowned while swimming wildly in the ocean.
Friends of McDonnell’s identified a distinctive birthmark and red Adidas swimsuit found on the remains as matching those of the 44-year-old Emmy winner, who was last seen leaving his Brooklyn home il more than two weeks ago, said New York Police Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny. Tuesday.
Police are still waiting for the medical examiner to test McDonnell’s DNA, but believe the Irishman – who liked to “swim wildly” in the ocean or other natural bodies of water – went for a late swim in the night around 10:30 p.m. to one o’clock. of his favorite spots near Fort Tilden Beach on Nov. 4, Kenny said.
Despite his prowess in the water, McDonnell disappeared beneath the waves that night.
“He was known to do this and it appears he drowned,” Kenny told reporters.
A fisherman found the dismembered body Friday outside the Silver Gull Beach Club near Breezy Point on the Rockaway Peninsula.
“The body was discovered without the head and arms, which would indicate that the waves there are very rough,” Kenny said.
“It’s been described to me as like churning a washing machine,” the chef continued. “The body moving back and forth and hitting the rocks could have caused the limbs and head to be removed.”
Authorities do not suspect any foul play.
McDonnell’s bike was found locked at Fort Tilden Beach on Nov. 7, indicating he intended to return for it, Kenny said.
“According to friends, he did this from time to time,” Kenny said. “He would go away, sometimes for days at a time, to go out and do his thing.”
Her disappearance shook close friends like Gene Gallerano, who told the Irish Times last week that no one knew much about what happened.
“He was last seen last Saturday evening; the alarm was given on Sunday. We don’t know much more,” Gallerano said. “It’s been a very, very emotional week.”
Around noon on Nov. 17, police received a call about a human torso, legs still attached, lying on the sand at a popular beach in southern Queens, police said.
The gruesome condition of the body prevented authorities from immediately determining how the person died, or even their age and gender.
But clues allowed the police to determine the identity of the body.
A U.S. Park Police bloodhound tracked the scent to the edge of a rock pier, where cops found some of McDonnell’s clothing, Kenny said.
Friends who gathered at the site after learning that authorities had recovered a body brought photos — one of which showed McDonnell wearing the same swimsuit found on her torso, while another showed one of her birthmarks that matched those of the remains, according to the chief.
Police were still trying to extract video from the marine park that might show McDonnell heading toward the waves, Kenny added.
A Dublin native who often traveled internationally, McDonnell won an Emmy in 2021 for his film work on the Showtime series “The Trade.”
His first feature film, “Colony,” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the IDFA First Feature Award as well as an Irish Film and Television Award nomination, according to an online biography.
McDonnell was shortlisted for the world’s most prestigious photographic prize, the ‘Prix Pictet’, during its 2019 cycle, on the theme ‘Hope’.
He was nominated for another Emmy in 2018 for directing the documentary “Elian,” produced by CNN Films, BBC and Jigsaw Productions.
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