December 23, 2007

12/23/07: Josh Szostak, 21, Albany, NY

Josh Szostak, 21, was last seen on December 22, 2007 at the Bayou Café in downtown Albany. After becoming separated from his friends, he left the bar and presumably headed back towards his car parked on Delaware Avenue. He vanished. His body later turned up in the Hudson River.

It was the afternoon of December 22nd. Josh called his family's house in Latham the afternoon of December 22. He told them he was planning to go out. Wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with skulls and crossbones on the front, a white t-shirt, baggy jeans and tan sneakers, Josh headed to an Albany bar with enough money to go barhopping with friends around town. From there they went to the Bayou Cafe downtown. By midnight, the guys were ready to hit the next bar. Josh made a stop in the men's room. "His friends said they waited about 45 minutes, they were texting him, searching around, they went in the bathroom,” said Bill Szostak, Josh's dad. “Through the surveillance video at the Bayou we could see that Josh bypassed them all, went outside, used the cell, looked up and down the street and couldn't see anybody, decided his friends left and started hoofin’ it towards where his car was.” But Josh never made it that far. Video proves his car was left untouched outside the Elbo Room.

About Josh
Josh's dad, Bill, said “At Plattsburgh he was the lead radio jockey and he was nicknamed ‘the Stag.’ You couldn't go anywhere without people recognizing him and talking to him,” said Szostak. “Never did drugs, since he turned 21 he's been in college, on the weekends they go out and party and he drinks his beer. He likes his Guinness beer. Typical college kid.”

A car belonging to the state Department of Environmental Conservation was found damaged and abandoned at the Port of Albany. It had been stolen from a downtown garage, steps from where Josh's cell phone was spotted. Police initially labeled Josh a suspect in the car theft, but later recanted that theory, saying they had no evidence to support it. Szostak says he's told Josh's prints aren't in or on the car, which is now being combed for DNA evidence. And he says Josh's cell phone provides no leads because the law bars investigators from reading text messages sent to or from it.

The Search
Police initially concentrated the search in the area of South Pearl Street near the Bethlehem town line. As hours turned into days, search dogs were deployed to follow his scent. The dogs led the search party down Park Avenue, which is the first cross street in Lincoln Park down by Martin Luther King Monument. "If you're a block away from your vehicle, why would you be deterred to go down Park Avenue, unless you happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Szostak said. Joshua Szostak's family retained the services of a private investigator, who set up an anonymous tip line at (518) 424-7236.

Josh Szostak's body was found by a boater on the Hudson River in Coxsackie on Tuesday, April 22, 2008. The clothing on the body matched what Szostak was wearing on the night he disappeared. The body was sent to St. Peter's Hospital in Albany for an autopsy. State Police Captain Wayne Olson said his body showed no sign of foul play or struggle and provides few clues as to how Szostak ended up in the Hudson. Keys, an ID and money were found on his body.

The autopsy performed by the State Police in Greene County, sought to determine whether or not Szostak was still alive when he was submerged in the water.
“Based on the Medical Examiner's results, he died as a result of an accidental drowning,” said Public Safety Spokesperson James Miller. “It's difficult to pinpoint anything else based on his findings, there's no indication anything happened prior to that.” Within minutes of the release of these results, the Albany Police Department announced its case was closed. The State Police will review toxicology tests performed over the next couple of weeks to help provide more clues as to how a young man met this fate. State Police Captain Wayne Olson said his body showed no sign of foul play or struggle and provides few clues as to how Szostak ended up in the Hudson. Keys, an ID and money were found on his body.

Speaking on a radio show on News Talk 810 WGY, his father, Bill Szostak, said while he did not want to discredit the APD, the department did not allow the State Police or the FBI to lend their extensive resources. He said the State Police autopsy, which determined Josh most likely drowned, fell short of finding out what happened to his son.

Unanswered Questions
A twist that may never be resolved -- why Szostak's cell phone was found steps away from where a state DEC car was stolen. The car was found damaged and abandoned at the Port of Albany along the Hudson just days after Szostak disappeared. There were no prints on the car and DNA evidence was inconclusive.

2nd Autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Baden
On Monday April 28, forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden performed a second autopsy on the body of Joshua Szostak at the Parker Brothers Funeral Home. Joshua's father, Bil Szostak, reached out to Baden, a world renowned pathologist, because he wasn't satisfied that his son's death was an accident. The family confirmed to Capital 9 News that the findings were consistent with those of the first autopsy (
performed by the State Police in Greene County) which ruled Josh accidentally drowned. Like the first autospy, Baden found no evidences of injury or struggle. "The investigation as to whether he fell in accidentally because he had been drinking or whether he was pushed in or thrown in by others," says Baden, "really is a police investigation matter. The autopsy findings would be the same in either case."

Facts of Interest in This Case
Name/age: Joshua Szostak (from Latham, NY)
Physical Description: white male, 5-foot-11 and weighing 200 pounds. He has a shaved head, a goatee and brown hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing baggy jeans, a black, hooded sweat shirt with skulls and crossbones on the front and a white T-shirt.
Last Seen: 12/22/07, Bayou Cafe (70 North Pearl St), downtown Albany , NY
Recovered: 04/22/08, Hudson River
Cause of death ruling: drowning
Manner of death ruling: accidental


Anonymous said...

Seen against the background of the other cases, the Szostak death is far too complicated to be the work of a serial killer or killers. Indeed, the motivation appears to be quite different. Rather, these drowning deaths are most probably fealty or initiation killings. Their purpose is to seal the fate of those participating as final proof of their reliability. After they've proven themselves, they can be trusted to commit other nefarious deeds. Trusted by whom? By any large and criminally motivated group, including those associated with the military and intelligence communities. What are the clues?
1)The killers seek to make their crimes appear to be accidental drownings. Why? Because they don't want the police hunting them. Their motive is simply to implicate initiates or neophytes, drawing as little attention to themselves as possible, not to commit murder as some perverted act of power or control.
2) No private group could get this big. It has to be organized from above. Think of all the discrete and seemingly incongruous events and locations that reveal the same convenient m.o.--death by drowning. Can't happen. Too big.
3) The FBI won't investigate even though it has the authority and the case has reached widespread attention in the media. Did the FBI investigate 911 and the JFK assassination? Maybe. Maybe not. But if not, why not?
4) Possibility of clues left behind to ensure continuing, unremitting cooperation of suspect stragglers not completely vetted by previous methods-- viz. blackmail.
5) This case is ongoing and twelve years old, too old for the gang theory, in my opinion.
6) Looked at on a state-by-state basis, the gang theory fails to produce a sufficient number killings to justify belief in some cult or murder sect in all affected states or regions.

What to do: If I'm right the victims may have known one or more of their killers. Indeed, they may have been a friend or acquaintance. Why does a young man leave a bar who was waiting for his girlfriend to leave the bathroom? Simple. A friend in the bar told him his presence was urgently needed elsewhere. Remember, the young man wasn't expected to leave at all. Alternatively, he may have received a phone call from someone known to him, asking him to leave for some reason. So, who were the people who last saw or otherwise knew that these men were leaving a bar or party, and what are these same people doing now? Do any of them work for ONI, the CIA, etc., or perhaps law enforcement or the government? Do any have classfied backgrounds? Have any recently become extraordinarily rich or successful? Some of the most important clues in this case, I believe, lie with the living. Twelve years is a long time.

jdparmelee said...

Anonymus no.1 said "Do any of them work for ONI, the CIA, etc., or perhaps law enforcement or the government? Do any have classfied backgrounds? Have any recently become extraordinarily rich or successful?"

That's just crazy and far fetched. Watching to many espionage flicks?? This could be linked but maybe not, there are no 'smiley faces' at the scene that we know of. It is VERY odd though for a guy to go missing out a bar while waiting for his girlfriend. Unless he was trying to ditch her. But ten or twelve years is not so far out of the realm of imagination when you consider maybe the killers were college grads in '97, started their killing then and grew an appetite that still survives. Killers thrive on the notions that only they know the truth and haven't been caught. The Ripper is a classic example of that.
The one thing that is iterresting to me in this case is that the police have closed the case when his cell phone was found near where the car that was stolen was also found at the Hudson River.

Ethan the serial killer investigator said...

He could have been a victim of somone calling themselves smiley 796.A member of a group that called themselves Damnation back in 1997.The address of the bar is 79 pearl

Curious said...

To: Boy In the Machine

I was doing some reading on the DEC car. It's a little disturbing.

BoyintheMachine said...

Att: Curious,

What did you find? Got a link?

Curious said...

Meh. My opinion is controversial and completely opposite to what everyone else thinks. I would write it here based on everything that I've read but I don't want to be attacked by the crazed SFK GLP people. Have you met a crazier bunch? In any case, you're totally being stalked by them by the way.

BoyintheMachine said...

Att: Curious,

My intution tells me that the police are witholding information that would hurt the family. I don't want to get into it further, but I'm sure you can figure it out.

Of course this is just my intuition and it doesn't count as proof.

I would be interested in learning more, if there's any more info out there on the subject of the DEC vehicle.

About the loons, yes, I completely agree. What upsets me is that they show no respect whatsoever for this blog.

Curious said...

Yes, I think your intuition is correct. Unfortunately I think what happened to this poor man was a terrible accident - for many reasons.

I feel the same way you do about the loons. The Dan Zamlen thread has become an SFK thread. Which I guess would be fine if they would keep it in context to Dan but that doesn't seem to be the case. Now it's crazy theories and speculation about possible suspects on Myspace. Hey, I completely respect other's opinions but if I have to read one more post about yellow medicine river, moonseed, yahweh, and all the other crap they've been posting I'm going to scream. I feel bad saying that but it's true! I hate to say it but I wish the GLP would be banned from posting here. Not because of what they believe - they have the right to believe what they want - but because they do not have the ability and capability to communicate in a rational productive manner. It's frustrating. And they're crazy! LOL They actually believe you're a Fed trying to debunk the SFK and that your opinions will sway the public away from SFK therefore thwarting any potential future investigation by the "authorities". Hahahaha! Have you heard of anything crazier?? Actually it seems that some of them have been banned from other sites like Websleuths and some others I believe. Ugh. Now I'm venting on Josh's thread and that's not right. LOL Oh well, I guess it is what it is.

Hey, if you like I can send you what I've read and my thoughts behind why I think it was an accident.

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Curious,

Thanks for the offer but at this time this whole subject of the SFKilers theory is unraveling. (I'm still open-minded to the possibility of a group or gang of people murdering college-age men, but I am extremely skeptical of the sfkiller theory as it is being represented at this point.)

I just found out that nuts over at GLP are now accusing me of posting under the sockpuppet of 'Jack'. LOL...this comes after the accusation of me posting under 'Justin'. LOL (Just for the record, I have NEVER posted at GLP at all, and I only posted at under 'Jason', and only posted here at footprints under my screename 'BoyintheMachine'. I don't use sockpuppets. LOL)

I feel so sorry for the family members of the drowning victims. I feel sorry for those that may be murders and for those that are clearly not.

This subject is really starting to bother me, especially after learning family members are shilling out thousands of dollars for nothing.

I think I need a break from this subject. I might check back here in a couple of weeks or so.

Take care, and nice communicating with you 'curious', even though I'm sure these idiots think we are the same person! LOL

Anonymous said...

A CNN story about this case:

Tenneguy said...

On google maps the bar address is 79 pearl

Anonymous said...

Law Enforcement should search the building a short distance away at 69 Pearl Street and look for something that belonged to Joshua. NY patterns repeat themselves.Mcneil was reported to be found 11 miles away at Pier 69.Campbell and Falcon in NY were at the address of 11.Jacobson in NY lived at that address.Larry Andrews had 11 dollars in his wallet.The fort Campbell soldier was last seen at 690 Riverside drive.Not only do the names repeat themselves with a NY victim the numbers do also.If LE was doing the work they may be able to complete the patterns with the others.It is not likely it is just some kind of eerie similarities.There is only one Albert Cambell listed on the missing persons network named Albert Cambell.It is an Albert Campbell in Alberta.There are 365 days in a year and he was reported to be last seen one day off from the day Albert Campbell in NY was last seen.Albert Campbell in NY was OCTober of 2005 and the other last seen October of 2004.Albert Campbell in NY was a Clarkson student.The Fort cambell soldier from Bellingham was last seen at a Clarksville bar.Even the Canadian victims repeat this pattern.2 canadians missing the same month.One a student at York University and one last seen at 11 Polson Street.They could be playing a game of Sesame street.They could be leaving a clue with the one that is not like the other and be doing this to mock law enforcement.

Tenneguy said...

Curious I post at GLP and I am Stalked.I am not a stalker.Any stalking was probably retribution for harrassing others at GLP.I would suggest you just keep your mouth shut about it because you will just keep making more problems.I don't care who started it,I just want it to end .This should be about finding answers.I have found since researching this the people that have a tendency to make accusations they themselves are guilty of.I was harrassed at webslueths and harrassed on my own blog so much I got disgusted and removed it.After responding to boyin the machines rude comments on my youtube I was suddeny being given a bad rating.Someone at the same time found me at a karioke site and did the same there at the same time.He complained about the quality of the photos and that I cropped them intentionl to manipulate people.I explained that there was other pic of the graffiti and I was tring to show comparison of the different symbols.I also explained I can not control the quality of pics when I did not even take them all.I also said there is something wrong with this picture when you are all over the internet posting opinions on the case and can't find pics that show the graffiti as a whole and not just portions of it.He is a stalker

Marion said...

I remember when this happened. I live about 50 miles from Albany. It is so very strange that Joshua was supposedly going to the bathroom, his friends texted him, then suddenly he just takes off and heads for home? It just does not make sense.