The "Seventh Body" and the "bloody shoe" photos were both uncovered by Ric Osuna while he was writing his book The Night The DeFeos Died in 2001. It is conclusively reported on this website that the "seventh body" mystery amounted to little more than that of a clerical misfiling of crime scene photos. The 'mystery' body was that of Karen Marie DeGennaro, an 11-year old girl who was tragically and senselessly murdered by a 21-year old Queens, New York man, Vito Coscia. The crime occurred 6 days after the DeFeo murders in Lake Ronkonkoma, which is also under the jurisdiction of the Suffolk County Police Department.
With the "seventh body" mystery solved, Ryan Katzenbach and the producers of Shattered Hopes decided that the "bloody shoe" mystery was the next to be investigated in hopes of finding any answer.
"This picture, like the 7th body, was in the the middle of DeFeo crime scene pictures, and it made no sense, like that of the 7th body. Ric believed that the photo was indicative of the DeFeo bodies being moved around, which would explain the sticky, still partially wet droplets of blood on the one shoe in the picture," explains Ryan Katzenbach. "However, from the beginning, I had some doubts about the bloody shoe, but like Ric and I agreed, there wasn't much of a logical answer to this. The photo to me didn't look like it was from the DeFeo house. The baseboards were different, the carpet looked filthy. The DeFeo's house was much cleaner than this, and that's what led me to believe that this could have been from another crime scene entirely."
As discussed in the Seventh Body article here on shattereddocumentary.com, Shattered producer Gail Bleckman was instrumental in retrieving the DeGennaro crime scene pictures which would resolve the Seventh Body issue. Bleckman, additionally, would actually be the person to crack the case of the bloody shoe.
"We had the DeFeo crime scene pictures, but I decided to have Gail make a FOIL request for the pictures because I wanted to cross check what they had against what we had to see if there was anything missing. And yes, when we finally got these pictures, I found that there was a considerable volume of pictures missing," says Katzenbach. "But also, I was hoping to ascertain for myself where this bloody shoe picture fit into the mix. This proved a solid hunch."
When the DeFeo crime scene pictures arrived, also in contact sheet form, the bloody shoe was smack in the middle of them. However, what was also in the middle was a series of other shots which, instantly, brought Ryan Katzenbach to the conclusion that yet ANOTHER series of crime scene pictures were mixed into the DeFeo photos. What is curious is that Ric Osuna had not seen these other shots. "When I phoned Ric to talk to him about this, Ric indicated that the only picture he had seen was that of the bloody shoe by itself, because, as we both agreed, had the other photos been present, it would have been clear that this was a whole different crime scene."
|A detail of the contact sheet provided by SCPD which revealed six pictures in the middle of the DeFeo photos that are unrelated to the crime.
"At this point, it's pretty clear to me that the DeFeo photos are contaminated with two other cases intermixed within. You can see, in the pictures, that there is an exterior shot of a small house, followed by some shots of a shotgun, which we know there was no shotgun associated with the DeFeo case, and then, of course, the bloody shoe picture. Logic dictates that the bloody shoe picture was taken inside this small house, that there was shotgun used in the commission of the crime, and that, likely, thus the blood on the shoe is from that of the victim in that case. So it's definitely not from the DeFeo scene."
Early on in the Summer 2010 investigation for Shattered, Gail Bleckman had made a very specific request for any shots of "firearms, spent shell casings, or bullet fragments" at the request of Katzenbach. Ric Osuna had done this a decade earlier and was told that there were no pictures of bullets while he was writing the book. Inconsistent with what Osuna was told, SCPD responded with a series of contact sheets containing the items requested, which did indeed exist.
In the middle of the contact sheet was what appeared to be a shotgun. The shotgun, to Ryan Katzenbach, was completely unrecognizable as being associated with DeFeo. "I looked at the picture and it made no sense because this gun was not involved in the DeFeo crime. So, finally, the mystery was solved when we got the actual contact sheets because I now know that this shotgun was part of another crime scene, and that crime scene is the same one that generated the bloody shoe picture."
Katzenbach also notes that both he and Osuna have seen different materials which could account for why Osuna didn't see the other photos associated with the bloody shoe print. "Ric was given negative strips. We were given contact sheets. At various points, the contact sheets have been configured in different manners...for instance, in the first one, they singled out just the firearms related pictures before later giving us everything," Katzenbach explains. "Therefore, it suggests to me that at present, SCPD is using a digital archive and they are able to produce contact sheets by simply clicking on a series of photos which are then generated on that contact sheet. Another reason why I believe there is a difference is because Ric at no time was given pictures of the bullets, whereas we got them, so it becomes apparent that Ric Osuna was not shown the degree of stuff that we were. This has added tremendously to the confusion of this case and the debates and controversy that has ensued over the last decade. If SCPD had been consistent, none of this would have happened."
Notably, the mix-up of materials isn't limited to the crime scene photos. Suffolk has given Shattered producers other documents and reports and materials that are entirely unrelated to the DeFeo case.
Regardless, like the mystery and controversy surrounding the "7th body" the bloody shoe issue is now closed. It can definitively be stated that this, too, was yet another crime scene processed by SCPD.