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of New Haven
The family of Jose Ortiz, who was 19 when he was abducted six years ago, knows he was likely murdered. They are hoping his remains will be found, and that they’ll learn who is responsible. His relatives have issued a plea to those who know what happened to come forward.
His mother, Carmen Colon of Meriden, says, “I want to know what happened to my son. Please, find it in your heart to say something. I am no one to judge. I leave that to God. I want to know—where is his body?”
New Haven police Lt. Julie Johnson, commander with the Major Crimes Unit, says Ortiz was abducted while riding his bicycle on Dec. 28, 2005, on Poplar Street, near Lombard Street in New Haven.
A city firefighter saw three males force Ortiz into a silver Ford Taurus. Ortiz lived with his mother at 417 Lombard St. in New Haven at the time, and their home was near the firehouse. The suspects are described as males between the ages of 15 and 21, according to Johnson.
“We have received many anonymous tips regarding this case, indicating he has been murdered,” Johnson says.
In early February 2006, police searched the area of Valley Service Road in North Haven with the aid of a cadaver dog and helicopter, Johnson says. “A tip was received that Ortiz had been killed and dumped in a wooded area off the highway near New Haven,” he says. “Detectives searched many abandoned properties and desolate areas for evidence.”
The sixth anniversary of Ortiz’s disappearance came in December, with his grieving family still waiting for answers and justice.
“To the people who did this—please know how much I am suffering as a mother,” Colon said. “If it was your mother suffering, how would you feel? If you are a parent yourself, how would you feel if it were your child?”
Ortiz’s sister, Carmen Ortiz of New Haven, says, “Someone took him away from us. This can happen to any one of your family members at any time. Please help us bring whoever did this to justice.”
Jose Ortiz’s photograph and information about his case have been featured on a cold-case playing card deck, which was distributed to prisoners in the state’s correctional facilities. His case is the 10 of hearts.
“There has been at least one tip from the card,” Johnson says, “but it didn’t provide any new information.”
According to Johnson, the motive of the abductors is unknown, but “through interviews with family and friends, there is an indication that he may have owed someone money.”
Ortiz’s family say they don’t think he was involved in any drug activity.
“It could have been over a girl, over money, or because they just didn’t like him,” Carmen Ortiz says. “He was quiet, and always at home.”
Carmen Ortiz says her brother wanted to become a police officer one day.
“We are upset we don’t have any closure,” Carmen Ortiz says. “If he was kidnapped, the chances that he is alive are slim to none. If he isn’t alive, we want to give him the proper burial he deserves.”
Anyone with information should contact New Haven police at (203) 946-6316.
Each passing second on a website clock devoted to Mary Badaracco’s disappearance might be seen as an intensification of her daughter’s’ frustration—at one point in mid-March, the woman who lived in this rural community had been missing for 10,067 days, 14 hours, 56 minutes and 48 seconds.
Even as the time flowed on, the words in “A Daughter’s Plea For Justice” on the website, marybadaracco.com, felt engraved in stone: “August, 1984, my life was changed forever. The nightmare from which I’m still trying to awaken began. After all we went through, our Mom was just gone,” reads the account by daughter Beth Profeta.
State police believe Badaracco was killed; Lt. Vance refers to it as “a homicide case.” Indeed investigators searched the property of Dominic Badaracco Sr., Mary Badaracco’s husband, as recently as February of this year. He was Profeta’s stepfather at the time of Mary Badaracco’s disappearance.
“By no means have we put this case on the the back burner—this is an active investigation,” Vance says. “There is still a monetary reward for information in this case.”
Badaracco’s case is featured as the queen of hearts in the state’s cold case card deck, with a $50,000 reward for information.
Dominic Badaracco has said in published reports that his wife left with $100,000 in cash and possessions after they decided to divorce. His son, Joseph Badaracco, told the News-Times of Danbury that the police investigation is a “witch hunt.”
Vance says, “We believe that there is someone out there that has a little bit more information and we welcome that,” even though a one-man grand jury investigation ended in early April without resolving the mystery.
“Unless someone comes forward with the information the police need, I don’t see any end to this,” Profeta wrote, on marybadaracco.com. “I need the truth. At the very least, my Mother deserves the truth [to] be told. That’s all I ask.”
Information can be given anonymously to the state police at (800) 376-1554.