Headless, armless body found on Queens beach identified through birthmark: NYPD

queens beach victim
A headless corpse was discovered on Breezy Point Beach on Friday, Nov. 17. Police believe the victim may be a well-known Irish filmmaker.
NYPD/File photo by Paul Frangipane

The headless, armless body that washed ashore on a Queens beach last week has been identified through a birthmark, police said Tuesday.

Though DNA and toxicology results are still pending final confirmation, police believe the body may be that of Emmy-award winning Irish filmmaker Ross McDonnell. 

Police say they traced the 44-year-old’s moments since he left his home on Nov. 4 at around 10:32 p.m., when investigators believe he planned to go for a swim at Breezy Point Beach.

“He’s an avid swimmer. In Ireland it is known as wild swimming. They’ll just go out into the ocean, he was known to do this. And it appears that he drowned,” Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said.

McDonnell reportedly left his wallet and cellphone at his home while his bike was discovered locked to a rack days later on Nov. 11. Working with US Park Police, authorities used a bloodhound to track his scent to the edge of a rock Jetty. where cops found clothing believed to belong to the missing filmmaker.

Police say friends of McDonnell provided photos of the Irishman, which detectives used to match the birthmark also found on the remains.

“They were able to provide photographs of the victim, Mr. McConnell, with a birthmark on his torso that matched the birthmark on the body that was discovered and also photographs of him wearing the same swimsuit, which was a red Adidas bathing suit,” Chief Kenny said.

Kenny added that the Police Department is working with the Irish consulate and family in Ireland to provide a DNA sample in order to conclusively identify if the body indeed belongs to McDonnell.

The body was found without its head or arms, leaving some to wonder if foul play had been involved. However, police believe the powerful current swept him out and caused the dismemberment.

“The surf over there is very rough,” Chief Kenny said. “If you can imagine, the way it was described to me, is the churning of a washing machine — the body going back and forth and hitting the rocks would have caused the limbs and the head to be removed from the body.”

Police say the area McConnell went missing in was one of his favorite swimming spots.