January 1, 1998

01/01/98: Larry Andrews, 22, New York, NY

Larry Andrews, 22, from Brewster, NY, disappeared in New York City's Times Square on New Year's Eve 1998 after becoming separated from friends. He was last seen running away from the train station, no longer wearing his warm clothes. He was found 44 days later in the East River.

For the past few years, Lawrence R. Andrews and a half-dozen or so of his friends have journeyed from Brewster, N.Y., to Times Square to ring in the new year. They followed a routine familiar to suburban revelers: Hop on an evening commuter train. Go to some bars. Celebrate with the masses as the ball drops. Go home feeling merry. That evening, the family was not overly concerned about Mr. Andrews's itinerary: he was, after all, going to be with friends in a city he knew well, on a night he had celebrated before. They said the only thing that concerned them was the weather -- the low that night was a bone-chilling 16 degrees. So they asked Mr. Andrews to wear layers: a T-shirt, a black turtleneck, a black sweatshirt and a deep-blue ski jacket. But Mr. Andrews somehow became separated from his friends just after midnight on the inhospitably cold night and disappeared. He was not carrying much money, according to his sister, nor did he have a bank card or any credit cards. And he may not have even had his driver's license because was arrested last year for driving under the influence and his license was being revoked, his sister said.

Mr. Andrews went to a friend's house to begin partying and drinking. The group then boarded a train, arriving at Grand Central Terminal around 10:30 P.M. and had some drinks on the train. They also drank two or three bars along 42nd Street. He was last seen at Houlihan's, near Grand Central (at 87 E 42nd St) before stepping outside and celebrating with the 500,000 or so other shivering souls crammed into Times Square.

But then, just after the ball dropped, Mr. Andrews apparently became separated from his group. ''They turned around, and my brother was gone,'' his sister, Jennifer Andrews said. About 1 A.M., he was spotted at a bar inside Grand Central Terminal, where he bumped into some other Brewster residents and chatted about football and other subjects dear to him, his sister said. Then, somewhere between 2 and 2:30 A.M., he ran into two other Brewster residents. They said Mr. Andrews was last seen running in his T-shirt on 42d Street, heading west, away from the train station. He gave the other Brewster residents a Yankees cap -- which he did not have when he left Brewster. And he was no longer wearing the black turtleneck, sweatshirt or jacket. Mr. Stephens said witnesses described Mr. Andrews as drunk, but not incoherent. ''He was in control of his speech, he recognized people, so it wasn't like he was falling down or anything,'' Mr. Stephens said.

About Larry Andrews
Lawrence Robert Andrews Jr., known to his friends as Larry, lived at home with his parents. He graduated from Brewster High School in 1993, was a Yankee fan and enjoyed lifting weights. He worked as a landscaper until he suffered two herniated discs in his back about a year ago. In 1994, his girlfriend, Jamie Scanlon, 16, was killed in a car crash on the day after Christmas. His sister, Jennifer, said that he had made great strides since then and that he did not seem despondent or depressed before he vanished. He had made plans to go skiing with a friend on the Friday after New Year's Eve, watch the N.F.L. playoffs over the weekend to root for his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers and was looking forward to her wedding. He even planned to start his own landscaping business.

Before he left to go to Times Square, he joked around in the kitchen with her fiance and blew his mother a last goodbye kiss.

The Search
An intensive search was undertaken by Mr. Andrews's family and friends, who visited midtown Manhattan and plastered the area with 3,000 fliers that show a picture of Mr. Andrews and phone numbers for the city's Midtown South police station house. They also enlisted the help of hundreds of volunteers, opened a headquarters in Katonah, N.Y., and set up a toll-free telephone number. His parents, Lawrence R. Sr. and Susan Andrews, spent the night of 2/11/98 walking the rainy streets of Manhattan until 1 A.M., trying to retrace his steps. More than 150 possible sightings of him, some from as far away as California, were reported to volunteers.

The long, exhaustive search for Andrews ended 2/12/98 when his family received the news they had long dreaded: the body of Lawrence R. Andrews Jr. had been found. The body had been spotted at 7 a.m. by a jogger floating 500 feet east of the 69th Street pier in the East River off Owl's Head Park. The area is off the Brooklyn waterfront near Shore Road in Bay Ridge and the entrance to the Narrows.

His wallet, with $11, party favors and a candy bar were in his pockets. He was dressed for the frigid New Year's Eve revelry at Times Square, wearing black jeans, a T-shirt, a flannel shirt, sweatshirt and jacket.

The cause of his death was drowning, and Mr. Andrews had apparently been in the water since his disappearance, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the City Medical Examiner's Office. Although the last witnesses to see Mr. Andrews had said that he appeared to be drunk, the manner of his death -- whether it was an accident, suicide or homicide -- remained under investigation.

On February 16, 1998, Andrews was mourned by about 350 people yesterday in a funeral at the Elizabeth Seton Church. The Rev. Joseph Prince said: ''No words can meet the pain of Larry's death. There are no words to make it better.''Mr. Andrews was buried at the Saint Lawrence O'Toole Cemetery in Brewster, N.Y.

Private Investigation
"I'm not satisfied, and I'm not going to just let it go," Susan Andrews said. "I wrote to Police Commissioner Howard Safir and Mayor Giuliani. We want to go forward with this."

Police have theorized he went into the Hudson River, and the tide carried him to Brooklyn. "He never got to Times Square," said his father, Lawrence Sr. "As soon as he left Houlihan's he disappeared. There was no reason to walk to the water all the way on the West Side. "I think he met up with somebody. It's funny that he just disappeared off the face of the Earth."

Private investigator Gil Alba, a retired detective working for the Andrews family, said it is unclear whether Larry drowned in the Hudson or the East River.

"I went all along 42nd St. from river to river, talking to people in bars," Alba said. "I checked his background for drug use, gambling debts, cult or gang influences. I know this kid inside out, and I can't find anything. "There are no conclusions here, but if there aren't any connections, why did this happen?" Alba continued. "When does it get to be a pattern?"

Susan Andrews wants authorities to reexamine the case because there are no clear answers. "No one can tell us one way or another, and that leaves it a question."

The case resembled that of Patrick McNeill, 21, a Fordham University student from Port Chester, N.Y., who disappeared in February 1997 after a night of drinking with friends. Mr. McNeill's disappearance also touched off a massive search effort across the city. He, too, was found drowned, floating in the same waters off Bay Ridge. The police said that the similarities appeared to be a coincidence.

Facts of Interest in This Case
Name/age: Larry Andrews, 22 (from Brewster, NY)
Occupation: unemployed landscaper
Physical Description: 6' 4", 190 pounds, brown hair, clean cut
Last Seen: 01/01/98, 2 am, 42nd Street, New York City, NY
Recovered: 02/12/98, East River near Brooklyn and Bay Ridge
Cause of death ruling: drowning
Manner of death ruling: under investigation

Family and Police Seek Missing Times Square Reveler, NY Times
Times Square Reveler Found Drowned, NY Times
Missing Man Found Dead is Mourned at Funeral, NY Times

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