For more than 40 years, the identity of a headless and handless body discovered in discarded luggage near a dumpster in New York remained unknown — until now, according to state police. Thanks to advancements in DNA technology and investigators who never gave up, the murder victim was identified as Anna L. Papalardo-Blake, 44, of New York City, state police announced in a Sept. 23 news release. Papalardo-Blake vanished after leaving her job as a salon receptionist at Vidal Sassoon in Manhattan around 6 p.m. on March 18, 1980, according to authorities. Afterward, the New York City Police Department received a report of her disappearance.
Two days after she was last seen, her body was found about 60 miles north inside a “travel trunk” near an apartment complex’s dumpster in Fishkill, police said. However, “technological and forensic” barriers stalled Papalardo-Blake’s identification for decades, according to police.
“For the past 42 years, Investigators have followed hundreds of leads trying to identify the victim and the circumstances surrounding her death,” the release said.
The FBI, alongside Othram, a private lab specializing in assisting unsolved murder cases, recently obtained a DNA sample that traced back to Papalardo-Blake, police said.
Authorities did not name a potential suspect in connection with Papalardo-Blake’s murder in the release. State police are asking anyone with information relevant to the case to reach out to investigators at 845-677-7300.