April 15, 2005
04/15/05: Patrick Welsh, 22, New York, NY
On April 15, 2005, Patrick Welsh, 22, a student at York College of Pennsylvania, took the train from Harrisburg, PA to New York on April 15 to visit some friends at Columbia University for a 3-day weekend. Then he simply vanished.
Patrick's body turned up in the Hudson River on June 2, 2005.
Patrick's roommate Adam Bumgarner, and his roommate's mother, Laura Bumgarner, drove Patrick to the Harrisburg, Pa., Amtrak station so he could board the train scheduled to arrive in Pennsylvania Station at 4:35 p.m. Patrick told them he would be back on campus by Tuesday, April 19. Cell phone records indicate that Patrick did arrive in Manhattan because phoned a male friend at 9:30 p.m. from Midtown. The call was made near 48th Street and Avenue of the Americas. Patrick and his friend did not meet up. No one remembers seeing Patrick at Columbia. And he never returned home.
The Search for Patrick Welsh
A check of Patrick's cell phone records turned up a possible lead that quickly evaporated. On April 18, Patrick's phone was used by John Dennis Koppinger, a homeless man, who found the phone and used it to call his own father. Koppinger later told police he found the phone in a vacant lot in the Bronx nine miles away from Midtown Manhattan. The police searched the lot, beneath an underpass at Undercliff Avenue and Boscobel Place, in the Mount Eden Section. They found nothing. Although the man was later arrested on an unrelated assault charge, he was not regarded as a suspect in Mr. Welsh's disappearance, the police said. He has since been ruled out as a suspect by police.
From April 29 to May 2, Patrick's Welsh's father, Michael, 44, an accountant, and his uncle, Edward, 47, a mechanic, traveled throughout Manhattan searching for him in parks, libraries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, bus terminals and hospitals, every place they could think where the young man might be.
The search also involved postings on Internet message boards of his favorite bands, like Ratdog, an offshoot of the Grateful Dead. According to the Associated Press, "Welsh's friends and family say he is a fan of jam bands such as Ratdog and spent time last summer touring with the All Mighty Senators." Ratdog performed April 15 and 16 at the Beacon Theater in New York. Investigators received a tip that Patrick may have attended this concert, but it could not be confirmed.
On June 2, 2005, a body washed up on the shore of the Hudson River near the 79th Street Boat Basin. The following Tuesday, the body was positively identified through dental records as that of Patrick Welsh. His parents were notified that night, according to the Maryland state police. Police said the body had been in the water "for a long time," but said they could not immediately determine whether it had entered the river near where it was found or had been carried from some other point by the Hudson's strong currents.
Patrick's death appears accidental, according to the police, but a final determination will not be made until the results of an autopsy as well as drug and alcohol tests are available, which the medical examiner said would not be for a week to 10 days.
A New York police official, speaking on condition of anonymity to the NY Times, said the police believe Welsh had a troubled emotional history. But in an interview with the NY Times on May 5, Patrick's father, Michael Welsh, said he was baffled by the disappearance of his son, whose recent behavior provided no clues as to why he might vanish. "He said he was visiting friends at Columbia, and that's what I believe." He added that his son had no ailments that might lead to blackouts and was taking no medication.
Name/age: Patrick M. Welsh, 22
Hometown: Sykesville, Maryland
College: York College of Pennsylvania in York, Pa. (senior)
Date Missing: 4/15/05, 48th Street and the Avenue of the Americas
Recovered: 6/2/05, Hudson River
at 5:01 PM