Arrest Made in Decade-Long Unsolved Murder Case in Ridgewood



A grand jury indictment has been issued for Anthony Scalici, charging him with second-degree murder in the 2009 stabbing death of his uncle, Rosario Prestigiacomo, inside the victim’s Ridgewood home. Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz confirmed the indictment, highlighting the use of forensic genetic genealogy as the key method leading to Scalici’s identification and subsequent arrest.

“This development marks a significant breakthrough in the case, which had remained unsolved for over a decade,” Katz said.

Scalici, 41, a resident of Boynton Beach, Florida, was arraigned on the indictment and ordered to return to court on July 8. He faces a potential sentence of up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

“The breakthrough came when DNA retrieved from a discarded fork, collected in Florida in February, was matched to DNA found at the crime scene in Ridgewood,” said Katz. “Defendants should not be able to evade justice no matter how much time has passed.”

The breakthrough came after Linda Doyle of the NYPD’s Forensic Investigations Division utilized public genealogy databases to construct a family tree, eventually leading to the identification of Scalici as a suspect. Subsequent surveillance efforts and DNA testing on the fork confirmed his connection to the crime.

Scalici was apprehended in Boynton Beach, Florida, on May 14 by law enforcement agencies including the United States Marshals and the NYPD’s Regional Fugitive Task Force. He was later extradited to New York on May 29, 2024.

In a harrowing retelling of events, on February 2009, police arrived at a home on Greene Avenue after reports of a disturbance. Inside, they found Joseph Prestigiacomo brutally murdered. The investigation revealed a horrific scene: Prestigiacomo had been stabbed and beaten repeatedly.

Despite collecting evidence, including blood swabs, the initial investigation yielded no leads. Analysis of the swabs identified Prestigiacomo’s DNA, but also a mysterious second male profile, suggesting the attacker was injured during the assault. This unknown profile was entered into national databases, but with no matches.

The case went cold for over a decade. Determined to find justice for Prestigiacomo, authorities in 2022 took a renewed approach.  They enlisted the help of a private lab and the Department of Homeland Security to utilize forensic genetic genealogy, a technique that leverages public DNA databases to identify potential relatives of a suspect.

This approach proved fruitful. In June 2022, advanced DNA testing produced a detailed genetic profile of the suspect. Using this information, NYPD investigators painstakingly built a family tree, leading them to a potential suspect in December 2023: Joseph Scalici.

Further investigation revealed a chilling connection – Scalici was the son of the victim’s ex-wife’s brother.  Months of meticulous surveillance followed, culminating in detectives obtaining a discarded utensil used by Scalici in February 2024.  DNA testing confirmed a definitive match between the utensil and the unknown male profile found at the crime scene 15 years prior.

The investigation was a collaborative effort involving the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad, the Boynton Beach Police Department, and the United States Department of Homeland Security. Assistant District Attorney Karen L. Ross is prosecuting the case, with support from Deputy Bureau Chief Veronika Podoprigora.

It’s important to note that criminal complaints and indictments are accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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