It's been a long twenty years since the violent and mysterious murder of City of Poughkeepsie police officer, William Gary Coffey. The cold case has been generating some recent attention by paranormal investigators and parapsychology research groups looking into the circumstances surrounding his murder. According to police and local news reports back in 1991, Officer Coffey was accused of sexually attacking Sharon McZeal, believed to be a criminal informant in ongoing drug investigations within the City of Poughkeepsie. McZeal checked herself into St. Francis Hospital and was released after an examination stemming from this alleged sexual attack. She then made an appointment to check herself into a drug rehabilitation clinic, but upon inquiring, police authorities and rehab counselors stated that she failed to admit herself and she was then reported as a missing person on December 13, 1991. It is widely believed that Officer Coffey did not rape or attack Sharon McZeal, as she told authorities conflicting accounts of the supposed incident.
On December 13, 1991, in the very early hours of the morning, Police Officer Coffey was reported to have attended a police squad party where he then left to socialize at the local bowling alley in Poughkeepsie. It was then reported that Officer Coffey drove down to the Hudson River (for unknown reasons), the location where he was brutally murdered and heaved into the Hudson River. Extremely puzzling is the fact that Police Officer Coffey's personal possessions - police badge, wallet and gun were found on the front hood of his truck and his gun holster was found fifty feet from his personal vehicle.
On January 6, 1992, Sharon McZeal's body was found strangled to death along the railroad tracks on the Hudson River. Police in the City of Poughkeepsie named Police Officer Coffey as their number one suspect in the strangulation death of McZeal, yet Officer Coffey was officially still missing since December 13, 1991, the very same date McZeal was reported missing.
In the Spring of 1992, May the 20th, Police Officer William Gary Coffey's body was found battered on the river's edge of the Hudson River, five and a half months after his mysterious disappearance and brutal murder. Family, friends and Poughkeepsie residents were stunned and angrily unsettled upon getting the news of Officer Coffey's death. Rumors and insinuations of racism, drug-use, prostitution, corruption, distrust and widespread accusations of a cover-up swirled wildly amongst the community residents causing more chaos and speculation within the community and no doubt, adversely effected the investigation. Officially, the case is still open and deemed a cold case amongst investigators at State Police Headquarters, Troop-K, Millbrook, NY.
Now, twenty years later, family, friends and residents here in Poughkeepsie are left with the bitter taste of these unsolved murders as the perpetrator (s) still roam amongst society and go about their daily lives while two other families grieve over these confusing and ugly crimes of brutality, murder and mystery.