NYC man charged in cold-case killing of WWI vet missing since 1976

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A Queens man was charged Wednesday in the killing of a 81-year-old World War I veteran who had been missing for over four decades, prosecutors said.

Martin Motta, 74, was indicted by a grand jury on a second-degree murder charge over the death of George Clarence Seitz, whose dismembered remains were discovered in 2019 in the backyard of a Richmond Hill home, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Martin Motta, 74, was indicted by a grand jury on a second-degree murder charge over the death of George Clarence Seitz, whose dismembered remains were discovered in 2019 in the backyard of a Richmond Hill home, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
Clarence Seitz disappeared in December 1976.
Queens District Attorney

Seitz disappeared in December 1976 after leaving his Jamaica, Queens home to reportedly get a haircut, the DA’s office said.

After the gruesome discovery of the pelvis and partial torso, it took some time for authorities to positively identify them as Seitz’s remains.

The city’s Chief Medical Examiner’s Office determined a DNA profile, but was unable to link it to any possible relatives in local, state and national databases, the DA’s office said.

Earlier this year, the NYPD and the DA’s office then sought the assistance of a private lab, which was able to generate a comprehensive genealogical profile, according to the DA’s office.

The results were handed off to the FBI. The agency discovered potential relatives and passed on their findings to the local authorities.

By obtaining DNA samples from the possible family members, investigators were able to positively identify the remains.

The DA’s office said “crucial evidence” was then uncovered connecting Motta to the slaying.

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