Queens District Attorney’s Office & NYPD Team with Othram to Identify a 2009 Homicide Suspect

Fifteen years after the murder of 64-year-old Queens, New York resident, Rosario Prestigiacomo, Anthony Scalici of Florida has been arrested for his murder.

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Published May 30, 2024 by Michael Vogen
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In February 2009, police responded to a call after neighbors heard a struggle coming from a man’s home in Ridgewood, a neighborhood located in Queens, New York. Upon entering, New York Police Department (NYPD) officers found a significant amount of blood in the hallway of the home and discovered a deceased male. The man, identified as 64-year-old Rosario Prestigiacomo, had been brutally stabbed sixteen times in the face, neck, torso, and extremities. He also suffered puncture wounds to various areas of his body and blunt force injuries to his head, torso, and extremities. NYPD crime scene detectives collected blood swabs from the crime scene.

The New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner examined the evidence collected at the crime scene and was able to determine the presence of not only a DNA profile that matched the victim, but also the DNA profile of an unknown male, suggesting that the attacker had been injured and was bleeding. Despite investigators' efforts to identify the person responsible for Prestigiacomo’s murder, the case went cold and a suspect could not be identified.

In 2022, the Queen’s District Attorney’s Office in collaboration with the NYPD Cold Case Squad and the United States Department of Homeland Security, submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas to determine if advanced DNA testing could help to identify the unknown male suspect in the case. Othram scientists developed a comprehensive DNA profile for the man using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®. After successfully completing the process, the profile was delivered to the NYPD's Forensic Investigations Division, where the necessary genealogical research was completed to generate new investigative leads in the case.

In December 2023, new investigative leads were provided to the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD Cold Case Squad, and a likely responsible individual was identified. This investigation led to the positive identification of the man, who is now known to be 41-year-old Anthony Scalici of Boynton Beach, Florida. Scalici is the son of Prestigiacomo’s ex-wife’s brother.

As part of the investigation, on various dates in January and February of 2024, detectives from the NYPD Cold Case Squad and Boynton Beach Police Department in Florida conducted surveillance on Scalici and attempted to obtain a discarded DNA sample from him. In February, Boynton Beach Detectives successfully obtained a fork used by the defendant. The New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner analyzed the fork and was able to produce a DNA profile. STR DNA testing confirmed that the profile from the fork matched the unknown male DNA profile developed from blood evidence left at the scene by the suspect as well as DNA recovered from under the victim’s fingernails.

On May 30, 2024, Scalici was arrested by United States Marshals in Boynton Beach, Florida. Anthony Scalici was indicted by a grand jury and arraigned in New York City on May 30, 2024 on a charge of second-degree murder. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder ordered Scalici to return to court July 8. If convicted, Scalici faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

The identification of Rosario Prestigiacomo’s murderer marks the first use of forensic genetic genealogy to identify a suspect in a New York City homicide. It also represents the 7th case in the State of New York where officials have publicly identified an individual using technology developed by Othram. Most recently in Suffolk County, Karen Vergata, a 1996 Gilgo Beach homicide victim was identified.

Help fund another case Your contributions pay for lab supplies and research tools

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

2829 Technology Forest Blvd Suite 100, The Woodlands, Texas 77381

Michael works with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada on “unsolvable“ cases that can benefit from advanced DNA testing methods. He helps these agencies use cutting edge DNA sequencing and new forensic techniques to develop investigative leads for their cases.

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About Othram Inc.

Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at ... Read morerecovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches have failed. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. With dnasolves.com anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.