New York police look at coldest case

Sept. 4, 2009 at 10:46 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- New York detectives and historians say they've been looking into the city's coldest cold case: a slaying that happened 400 years ago.

That's when John Colman, a member of Henry Hudson's crew, was said to have been killed by an Indian's arrow to his throat, four days after the first Dutch and English sailors had arrived in September 1609. The New York Times reported Friday this was the first known and recorded murder in what is now New York City.

Witnesses said 400 years ago Sunday a patrol of the crew of the Half Moon was set upon by Indians and Colman was killed. The incident is portrayed in a mural in the Hudson County, N.J., courthouse.

Detective Michael J. Palladino told the Times, the murder was never investigated as thoroughly as it would be today. Evidence that the local Indians were benign, even friendly to Hudson and his men, would have been explored, he said. He also said police would have examined the wounds of two other crew members said to have been injured in the Indian attack, and looked into possible animosity between the crew, most of whom were Dutch, and Colman, who was English.

James Ring Adams, a senior historian at the National Museum of the American Indian who was one of several experts who reviewed the case, said he believed the murderers were Indians, but they could have been from another band from Staten Island or even further away without contact with the local Indians.

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