An Emmy-winning cinematographer is believed dead after a headless and armless body washed up on the shore of a beach in New York. Irish filmmaker Ross McDonnell has been missing since November 4, and while authorities are waiting for DNA testing results before confirming his death, they reportedly believe the body belongs to McDonnell.
On November 4, Ross McDonnell left his home on his bike. When he failed to arrive for pre-arranged dinner plans on Sunday evening his friends became concerned and he was reported missing Monday morning, according to the New York Daily News. McDonnell’s bike was eventually found on Fort Tilden Beach in Queens, a couple of miles from where the body was recovered.
McDonnell was an avid swimmer, even this time of year, and some of his clothes were reportedly found on the beach near where the bike was recovered. It’s currently surmised that McDonnell went swimming and accidentally drowned.
As far as the state of the body when it was recovered, a source tells the Daily News that authorities believe the body was dismembered as a result of the current and collision with the rocks after he was dead. Sealife may also be partially responsible. The fact that it’s been more than two weeks since McDonnell went missing means there has certainly been plenty of time for the body to be significantly damaged by the environment. There’s no indication that police believe there was any foul play or that this was suicide. However, police have yet to comment on the report publicly.
McDonnell is a three-time Emmy winner for cinematography, having won in 2021 for Showtime’s The Trade, and then again in 2022 for the COVID documentary First Wave. He was also nominated for a third time as a producer for the documentary Elián. Mexican journalist Ioan Grillo posted to Twitter about his friend, whom he called one of the best photojournalists and cinematographers of this generation.
This is certainly a tragic result, not what friends and family hoped to hear. At the same time, the evidence that they do have certainly indicated such a result. The bicycle was still locked in place when it was found and if the filmmaker was known to go swimming by himself, then the evidence certainly indicates such things.
There’s still the possibility, however remote, that the body is not that of McDonnell, though if that turns out to be the case there will be even more unanswered questions, as we will still wonder what happened to the filmmaker. The body itself would create an all-new mystery.
It’s unclear when the DNA results are expected. Those tests can take time but one hopes they’re being rushed through so that the friends and family of Ross McDonnell can finally have some closure. Once the body is identified and the family is notified, the public will be made aware of just what the DNA testing has revealed.
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Khushi Patel is a science fiction author who lives in Austin, Texas. She has published three novels, and her work has been praised for its originality and imagination. Khushi is a graduate of Rice University, and she has worked as a software engineer. She is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and her books have been nominated for several awards.