Thirty eight years after the body of teenager Kathleen Kolodziej was found dumped in upstate New York, investigators are making a renewed effort to find who stabbed the 17-year-old college student to death.
In a joint endeavor to generate new leads, New York State Police, New York Crime Stoppers, and the Cobleskill Police Department have erected a billboard on Route 7 in Richmondville. The billboard highlights Kolodziej's murder and a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
The unsolved homicide investigation of the only child who grew up on Long Island in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., has outlived both of Kolodziej's parents. While those who once knew the teen have moved on with their lives, time stands still for Kolodziej's case. The young woman, according to New York State Police Maj. William S. Sprague, was the victim of a brutal homicide and detectives are anxious to close the books on it.
Kolodziej was reported missing by her mother to the state police in Duanesburg on Nov. 2, 1974. According to Sprague, Kolodziej was last seen early that morning at the Vault Bar and Grill in the village of Cobleskill. Kolodziej had declined to return to the SUNY Cobleskill campus with her roommate and said she was going to get a ride back with someone else. She was last seen heading west on Main Street toward the college. She never made it back to her dorm room.
When news of Kolodziej's disappearance made the local news, a witness reported seeing a woman getting into a yellow Volkswagen at about 1:45 a.m. the morning of the disappearance. Authorities have never been able to confirm if Kolodziej was who the witness saw getting into the car.
Kolodziej's whereabouts remained a mystery until Nov. 28, 1974, Thanksgiving morning, when two hunters located a woman’s shoe near the intersection of MacDonald and Cross Hill roads in Richmondville. Investigators located Kolodziej's partially-clothed body prone on a stone wall.
An autopsy at Albany Medical Center revealed Kolodziej died as the result of multiple stab wounds.
With few leads to follow, the murder investigation quickly went cold. Over the years, authorities implored the media to cover the case, but none of the efforts have led to the killer.
Police "are requesting any information on individuals who were at the Vault Bar and Grill on Friday evening, November 1, 1974, [and] anyone who has had a conversation with anyone who was at the Vault," Sprague said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 866-313-8477, or the state police in Cobleskill at 518-234-9400.