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Torso and legs found on NYC beach may be remains of missing Irish filmmaker

A body found at a New York City beach Friday may be the remains of an Emmy-winning Irish filmmaker who disappeared earlier this month, law enforcement sources said.

Police responded to a 911 call just before 12:30 p.m. Friday about a human torso, with legs attached, found lying in the sand at Breezy Point Beach in Queens. The New York City medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.

While the body hasn’t been officially identified, law enforcement sources said the remains appeared to be of filmmaker Ross McDonnell, 44, who was last seen Nov. 4 leaving his apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, neighborhood on a bicycle.

His bicycle was later discovered locked at Fort Tilden Beach in Queens, located on the Rockaway Peninsula next to Breezy Point, NBC New York reported.

A photo of Ross McDonnell over NYPD's Crime Stopper logo.
Ross McDonnell.NYPD

No foul play is suspected in the case and there is no indication of suicide, the sources say. It’s possible that McDonnell went for a swim, got caught in the current somehow and drowned, according to the sources.

The investigation is ongoing and authorities are working with the Irish consulate and awaiting DNA results.

McDonnell — a filmmaker and photographer —  originally from Dublin, won an Emmy for cinematography on the Showtime show “The Trade.” 

He was last seen wearing a black shirt, red pants and a black backpack. He is described as 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds. 

Anyone with information about McDonnell’s disappearance is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).


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